Iraqi PM's coalition leads in local vote

Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law bloc wins the most seats in local elections in seven of 12 provinces.

    Iraqi PM's coalition leads in local vote
    The elections come amid months of anti-government protests in Sunni areas of Iraq [Reuters]

    Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki's coalition came top in provincial elections two weeks ago, results released on Saturday showed, but failed to win a majority in any district, meaning it will need alliances to hold onto senior provincial posts.

    Maliki's State of Law won the most seats in seven out of 12 provinces, in a vote that was the biggest test of Iraqi democracy since U.S. troops pulled out in December 2011.

    Iraqi politics are deeply split along sectarian lines, with Maliki's power-sharing government mired in crisis over how to share power among Shi'ites, Sunni Muslims and ethnic Kurds who run their own autonomous region in the north.

    "Ahead of the 2014 elections, the results signal to the blocs that pursuing a majoritarian government approach is difficult to bear fruit," said Ahmed Ali, an Iraq analyst at the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War.

    "Coalition building remains a main characteristic of forming governments in Iraq."

    Iraqiya, a secular but Sunni-dominated bloc that posed a serious challenge to the Shi'ite Maliki in 2010 parliamentary elections, won no more than three seats in any province, according to figures released by Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission.

    Months of Sunni unrest have come to a head since security forces raided a protest camp on April 23, three days after the provincial elections. Clashes swiftly spread to other Sunni areas, pushing the monthly civilian death count to 712, the highest since 2009, according to the United Nations.

    Civil war in Syria is fanning Sunni-Shi'ite rivalry across the Middle East, exacerbating tensions in Iraq. Under late dictator Saddam Hussein, the minority Sunnis were politically dominant, but now they complain of being marginalised.

    Maliki's State of Law received the most votes in the capital Baghdad, where it took 20 of the 58 available seats.

    Voting in two Sunni-majority provinces was put off until July due to concerns about security, a delay criticised by the United States. The cabinet said the date could be postponed again unless the situation improved.

    The Kurdistan region has its own timetable for provincial elections in its three governorates.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Meet the deported nurse aiding asylum seekers at US-Mexico border

    Meet the deported nurse helping refugees at the border

    Francisco 'Panchito' Olachea drives a beat-up ambulance around Nogales, taking care of those trying to get to the US.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.