Op-Ed / Middle East & North Africa 1 minutes

Ruling Baghdad

The past week produced a moment of clarity in Baghdad, even if it still takes several months before we see a new government. The electoral commission declared it had adjudicated, and rejected, all complaints received, other than the currently ongoing recount in Baghdad. The Kurds have dropped their demand for a recount in Kirkuk and Ninewa. Meanwhile, the Accountability and Justice Commission, which had disqualified hundreds of candidates under the rubric of de-Baathification, appears to have reached the limit of its influence—for now. This means that within a month or so, the Supreme Court should be in a position to certify the election results.

Most significant, however, was the announcement by the two main Shiite lists, the State of Law (SOL) and Iraqi National Alliance (INA), that they would reunify, signalling the return of Iraqi politics to its natural course—with a logical outcome—if the new coalition holds.

Four years ago, a unified alliance of Shiite parties and politicians won the parliamentary elections, running just shy of an absolute majority. Following much back and forth, it plucked a weak compromise figure from relative obscurity to become prime minister: Nouri al-Maliki. (Maliki had been known under the name Jawad al-Maliki, so when he was tipped to be the country’s next leader, people were heard asking, “Who is this Nouri al-Maliki?” Even as Jawad, he was a lesser figure in his Dawa party).

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