Iraqi’s jostle for position in balanced assembly

AFTER the excitement comes the lull. Iraqis hoping for quick results to the historic elections (last Sunday) will have to wait around three more days for a result and then sit through weeks of political haggling as the winners attempt to form a new government.

  • E-Mail
By  Rhys Jones Published  February 6, 2005

AFTER the excitement comes the lull. Iraqis hoping for quick results to the historic elections (last Sunday) will have to wait around three more days for a result and then sit through weeks of political haggling as the winners attempt to form a new government. Despite original claims by the Shia Muslim United Iraqi Alliance that it had swept the board, none of the parties is expected to win an outright majority in the 275-member assembly. The three leading groups — the Shia list, the Kurdish coalition and the party headed by Iyad Allawi, the interim Prime Minister — are likely to form the government, sharing out the top posts including those of the president, his two deputies, the prime minister, the speaker of the assembly and senior cabinet positions. Some places will have to go to senior Shia figures such as Hojatoleslam Abdel Aziz Al Hakim, Ibrahim Jaafari and Hussein Al Shahristani. If Allawi does well, he could keep his post as Prime Minister. The Kurds can expect a top job for Jalal Talabani. Hoshyar Zebari, another Kurd, may stay on as Foreign Minister. The big challenge facing the new government will be to ensure the Arab Sunni Muslim community, which turned out only in small numbers last week, is represented in high office by respected figures. They could be drawn from existing politicians such as Ghazi Al Yawer, the outgoing President, and Adnan Pachachi, a former Foreign Minister. The main job of the newly elected assembly is to draw up a permanent constitution, which will be voted on at a referendum in October before fresh elections in December. Unless all communities feel that their rights are properly respected in the new constitution, then rifts could deepen. The checks and balances built into the US Constitution by the Founding Fathers in 1787 could come to the rescue in Iraq if the election results in Sunnis being significantly under-represented. The Iraqi system was drawn up along similar lines and is designed to ensure that a balanced constitution emerges, even if the assembly’s make-up is skewed in favour of Shias and Kurds.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code