Al-Maliki starts bargaining to form government

Al-Maliki starts bargaining to form government

Al-Maliki starts bargaining to form government

An Iraqi man reads a local newspaper the day after results revealed that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki won the most seats in parliamentary elections, in Baghdad on May 20, 2014. AFP Photo

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has started the period of bargaining to form a new government as his predecessor’s political bloc demanded that parliamentary polls be repeated, claiming that the vote was rigged.     

“There were many cases of vote-rigging and other violations,” Entessar Allawi, a spokesperson for former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi’s Wataniya bloc, told Anadolu Agency. “We reported all the violations to the electoral commission, but our complaints were ignored.”

Al-Maliki won by far the most seats in parliamentary elections, putting him in the driver’s seat for a third term. However, his State of Law alliance fell short of an overall majority, meaning al-Maliki will have to court rivals, some of whom have refused to countenance his bid for re-election.

Results from the election commission showed State of Law garnered 93 out of 328 parliamentary seats, with al-Maliki himself winning more than 721,000 personal votes. He needs support from 165 lawmakers to lead the next government.     

Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr’s al-Ahrar coalition trailed second with 31 seats, followed by the al-Muwatin bloc led by Shiite leader Ammar al-Hakim, which managed to clinch 29 seats. Sunni Parliamentary Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi’s Mutahidoun ended up with 23 seats. The al-Wataniya list, a Sunni-backed bloc led by Allawi, won 21 seats. Sunni Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq’s al-Arabiya list gained 10 seats.

Meanwhile, Kurds won 62 seats and the result was hailed as a “victory” by Kurds and the Kurdish press in Iraq. Kurds won five seats more than in 2010’s elections, raising the number of Kurdish members of Parliament from 57 to 62.

“Kurdistan Won” headlined the Hewler newspaper, known for its links with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) of Masoud Barzani. The report said Kurdish votes in Iraq were up by 20 percent and that the KDP won 25 seats, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan won 21, the Goran Movement received nine, the Islamic Unity Party obtained four and the Islamic Society Party won three seats in the Iraqi Parliament.

According to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s official newspaper, the Kurdish region will be able to compete with Baghdad thanks to the 62-seat haul.