Hurrah, elections are over. Not much of a whoopee, but good nonetheless.
We’re still waiting for the final results of the elections. And there is still a lot to be worked out. The way the results were announced a couple of days ago was a bit confusing.
First they didn’t tell us much about how the local councils will look like. Depending on the number of voters and the population of a province a list (or bloc) will get a seat with only 3% of votes while in others it will take as much as 5% to get one seat on the council.
Then there is the matter of the 600k or more people who voted on the ‘special vote’ day. Those were soldiers, policemen, people in hospitals and prisons who were allowed to vote a day ahead of the elections. The Electoral Commission says they ran out of ballots on the day. Which probably means that a very high percentage of the 600,000 people voted. And that is as big an electorate as a small province.
But we can still see who the biggest loser is: The Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution. Even with this super impressive name they seem to have pissed off enough people in the last year for the electorate to decide to punish them.
The biggest winner: Al-Maliki. If there was even a night in which our PM should have gone out and gotten seriously drunk it was the night the preliminary results were announced. In 10 out of 14 provinces his bloc came out on top and in two of Iraq’s biggest provinces, Baghdad and Basra, his bloc will get the majority of seats on the councils. (Al Maliki doesn’t drink, so I got drunk for him, any excuse for a binge eh!).
My worry is that this is a man who until recently was accused of sectarianism and heavy handed politics. It wasn’t until the SOFA negotiations that he read the shift in the national mood and went for the whole non-sectarian national politics, even moving away from the idea of regional governments back to a unified Iraq with a central government. So let’s hope he actually has changed and it wasn’t just a bit of political opportunism… actually now that I’ve written that it sounds too naïve.. It probably is. Ho hum, we’ll see.
And if it all goes wrong we get to punish them politicians again in the elections coming up at the end of the year.