Ayad Allawi, head of the secular Iraqiya bloc, has won the most seats in the Iraq elections. 91 seats to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s 89. Now, as they say, the fun starts: prepare for months of wrangling over what the next government will look like, and who the next prime minister will be.
Four big questions that come to mind: Does Maliki, who is calling for a recount, hand over power? Can Allawi find the 72 seats needed to get him to the 163 seats required to form a government? How does Iran–which has close ties to the other large Shiite list–feel about Allawi? Ie, will Tehran give the okay to the Shiite list to join forces with Allawi against Maliki? Finally, how does this impact the security situation, or, how much violence will we see during the government formation process?
I’m not going to try to answer those at the moment. But you might recall that I interviewed Ayad Allawi’s daughter, Sara, two weeks. Here’s Sara on what her dad’s vision is for Iraq:
Our vision, his vision, would be to have the next government based on national unity and a coalition that included all groups, so no group feels ostracized. Really, I’m not sure if he will become prime minister. But I think Iraq has no other choice but to have a government based on national unity and to move away from sectarianism. So far, only our party has shown this approach. We’ll have to take that direction. If we don’t, Iraq will spiral into disaster. The tensions will be exacerbated. They could engulf Iraq and spread over to the other regions. It’s the approach that has to be taken to save Iraq.