Former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi’s coalition won the most seats in Iraq’s March 7 parliamentary election, according to full preliminary results released on Friday.
The bloc with the most parliamentary seats is given the first opportunity to form a new government.
Here are some initial reactions to the results:
GALA RIANI, ANALYST WITH IHS GLOBAL INSIGHT
“Allawi has achieved what Maliki had hoped and aimed to do. The mission he had was to run a coalition on a non-sectarian platform and secure an election victory on that platform.
“Iraqiya (Allawi’s bloc) has fared much better across the board than State of Law (Maliki’s bloc) has, much better in the southern provinces than State of Law did in the north. It puts Allawi in a better place to secure better credibility across the county.
“What Allawi has achieved is hugely significant. It’s a massive blow to Maliki, to his credibility and to the type of platform he has tried to run.”
TONY DODGE, READER IN INTERNATIONAL POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON:
“That’s an amazing result. The fact that Allawi is leading means that he has the first chance at forming a government. Technically this gives him the lead.”
The result is “a damning indictment of the ruling party, the insiders that have dominated Iraqi politics for the last five years. We just have to see if Allawi has the wherewithal to form a government.
“Iran backed the INA (the mainly Shi’ite Iraqi National Alliance) and half-heartedly backed Maliki. Now that Allawi is moving through Baghdad trying to build a coalition, Iran will be going through Baghdad with a lot of money trying to build a coalition.
“It would not be too harmful to suggest that Washington and Tehran have opposing objectives in the formation of the next government … Allawi for the Americans and whoever Tehran thinks will be the most effective representative of the Shia Islamist party.
“The big points are that Allawi represents an anti-incumbent vote. The people who voted for Allawi voted against the last five years. This is potentially destabilising, but very important.
“Let’s hope that the army stays in its barracks, I think it will. But we will see some rocky times before the formation of the next government.”
DR. AMI M. ANGELL, VISITING RESEARCH FELLOW, INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR POLITICAL VIOLENCE AND TERRORISM RESEARCH
“There are going to be a significant number upset about the outcome, no matter what it is. But they will support the outcome, if positive changes in policy are rapidly introduced. … (Iraqis) are tired of the violence, tired of the corruption and tired of the fighting. I don’t know how eager they are going to be to pick up arms and join another fight. I honestly believe that the populace will follow anyone – at this point – who follows through on his word.”
(Reporting by Ian Simpson and Jim Loney; Editing by Jon Hemming)