Nouri al-Maliki coailition scores landslide victory in Iraq

From The Times, February 6, 2009

Nouri al-Maliki coailition scores landslide victory in Iraq elections

Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq’s Prime Minister, savoured a stunning election victory last night, as improved security drew voters to his coalition and away from the sectarian division offered by hardline religious parties.

The victory in provincial elections will encourage him to run for a second term in office in the approaching general election, less than a year after he was derided in the West for his ambitious military crackdown on militants.

A coalition headed by Mr al-Maliki had landslide wins in Baghdad and Basra, the country’s two most important provinces. His State of Law coalition also came out on top in seven other predominately Shia provinces in southern Iraq, beating the rival Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (ISCI) in a triumph for secular politics over religious groups.


Interesting. Certainly seem like a promising result in that the electorate has mostly gone for the secular parties rather than the religious nutters. Whilst we likely can't expect Western levels of governance for quite a while yet if not a generation or two they seem to be making progress. What do people think this bodes for the country?
who cares they are far away now
Sunni electoral disaster, part 2: Baghdad
Thu, 02/05/2009 - 10:45am

"Preliminary results from the Baghdad provincial council election have begun to filter out into the Iraqi press. The lead story will probably be that Maliki's Rule of Law list won more than half the seats. But the more important story may be that all of the Sunni lists combined evidently only won four or five seats between them. That, combined with the fiasco in Anbar, could put Sunni frustration firmly back into the center of Iraqi politics – risking alienation from politics, intensified intra-Sunni competition, and perhaps even a return of the insurgency.

The results published a few minutes ago show Maliki's list in first place with "more than half" the seats in the 57 seat council. The Sadrist-backed al-Ahrar list won 10 seats, Iyad Allawi's al-Iraqiya list won "more than 7", and ISCI's list 4 or 5. In fifth place came Saleh al-Mutlak's Sunni National Dialogue list with 3 seats and the IAF with "1 or 2". If those numbers hold up, then the Sunnis will have once again been largely shut out of Baghdad. [* SEE UPDATE BELOW, WITH OFFICIAL RESULTS *] "
Here is Part 1!

Eye on Anbar: did the provincial elections make things worse?
Mon, 02/02/2009 - 5:29pm

I'm a bit confused by the rapturous reception across the board of the Iraqi provincial elections. I'm as delighted as everyone that the Iraqi provincial elections went off without major violence. But as I've been warning for many long months now, the dangerous part of the provincial elections comes when those groups who expected to win find out they didn't. Early signs are extremely concerning -- Anbar is under curfew after threats of violence, Diyala's outcome may signal a rapid escalation of Arab-Kurdish tensions, and that's not even looking at Baghdad.

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