Babbler # 3276
posted 13 December 2005 02:50 AM
Iraqi election may lead to broad-based coalition:
quote:Here's a fairly neutral history of Iraq elections from the Pakistan newspaper Dawn:
many expect the United Iraqi Alliance, a grouping of Islamist parties from the Shi'ite Muslim majority, to dominate again, emerging with perhaps around 40 percent of the seats in parliament.
At the last election in January, the alliance won 48 percent of the vote, but since then some parties have left its fold, and Sunni Arabs, who largely boycotted January's poll, will vote in far higher numbers this time, denting the Shi'ite share.
The Kurds, who make up about 20 percent of Iraq's 27 million people, are also expected to do well, securing up to 25 percent of the vote, thanks to rules that may work in their favour.
And in third place, perhaps even challenging for second, former interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, who heads a secular list that draws members from across Iraq's sectarian divide, is expected to build on his solid 14 percent showing in January.
A poll for the BBC released on Monday showed turnout could be as high as 80 percent, a factor Dodge said could further dent the United Iraqi Alliance's showing.
Several Sunni Arab lists are contesting the election and their religious leaders have urged members of the minority to vote. If they respond, the polls become less predictable.
Political parties surfaced almost right away, but they were and remained factional alliances of notables, each revolving round an individual or a family. The Progress Party (established 1925) served as an instrument of the Sadun family, the National Party of the Shia politician, Jafar Abu al-Timman, the “Covenant” became a vehicle for the ambitions of Nuri al-Said, and the People’s Party for those of Yasin al-Hashimi.
Ideological and programmatic parties also appeared. Younger people, belonging to merchant families and interested in social reform and liberal democracy, formed the Ahali Party which, after World War II, came to be known as the National Democratic Party. Istiqlal Party advocated pan-Arabism, and the Ba’th, tiny until sometime after 1958, stood for Arab nationalism and socialism. The Iraqi Communist Party was small but vigorous. It organized street demonstrations some of which were large and tumultuous enough to topple governments — that of Salih Jabir in 1948, and the one headed by Mustafa al-Umari in 1954. It should be noted, however, that the ideological parties did not make much of a showing in elections.
Politics in Iraq moved around personalities, with little interest in policy issues. Politicians pretended that policy differences separated them from their rivals but that was not actually the case. Men sought public office not because they wanted to take their society in a certain direction but for the rewards it would bring — patronage, gifts, bribes, sale of jobs, partnerships with businessmen, speculative buying and selling of land.
Elections, controlled by the government of the day, were frequent but they were often held to show that a newly appointed prime minister and his team, resulting from negotiations between the king and the notables in Baghdad, were resourceful enough to put together a supportive majority in the chamber of deputies. Fifty-nine cabinets, with an average age of eight months, were sworn in between 1921 and 1958. This should not, however, be taken to signify political instability.
There were elections in 1953 and two in 1954, but there's little on the net about them.
June 9, 1954:
Elections in Iraq: probably the freest in Iraqi history: the Iraqi Communist Party's Peace Partisans, National Democratic Party and Istiqlal formed an opposition "national front", winning 11-14 seats out of 135, but Nuri al-Sa'id only allowed parliament to sit once (26 July) before managing to form a new government which dissolved parliament (3 Aug), imposed tight controls over other parties & repressed the ICP.
From: Port Hope, Ontario | Registered: Oct 2002
| IP: Logged