Wednesday, April 04, 2018



This morning, WORLD BULLETIN reports:
A total of 374 would-be candidates will be excluded from Iraq’s upcoming parliamentary polls due to previous associations with the now-defunct Baath Party, according to Iraq’s Justice and Accountability Commission.
In a Monday statement, the commission said it had finished vetting the names of 7,367 potential  candidates, 374 of whom had been found to have links with the outlawed party, which ruled Iraq under deposed President Saddam Hussein.

The Justice and Accountability Commission was supposed to have been sent packing long ago.  In fact, ending de-Ba'athification and moving to national reconciliation was one of the benchmarks the Iraqi government was supposed to meet in order to continue receiving US financial and military support.  But that was when Bully Boy Bush was in the White House.  These days, they don't even pretend.  And, let's be clear, the benchmarks were a pretense.  The only one who took them seriously in the US Congress was US House Rep Lloyd Doggett.  He expected them to be met or support to be cut off.  Others in Congress didn't even pretend to care.

May 12th is when Iraq is supposed to hold the latest round of elections.

Dropping back to last Friday's CSIS podcast, where Anthony Cordesman and pollster Dr. Munqith Dagher discussed Iraq's upcoming elections. Using the data pool of those who intend to vote (likely voters), Dagher predicts that Hayder al-Abadi's Al-Nasr will win 72 seats in the Parliament, al-Fath (the militias) will get 37 seats, Sa'eroon (Moqtada al-Sadr's new grouping) will get 27 seats, Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law will get 19 seats, al-Salam will get 18 seats (KDP and PUK parties for the Kurds), Ayad Allawi's Wataniya will get 15 seats. There are others but Dagher did not predict double digits for any of the other seats.  The number are similar for the group of those who are extremely likely to vote (Hayder's seats would jump from 72 to 79 seats).

These are predictions and the election's over a month out (May 12th).  Even if the predictions are accurate, many things could change by the time elections roll around.  In 2010, many pollsters were predicting a big victory for Nouri al-Maliki.  Not only did he not have a big victory at the polls, he did not even have a victory.  Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya won in 2010.

If Dagher's current predictions should prove to be accurate, no single party will win enough seats to form a government and will have to enter arrangements with other parties.

Who will?

That's where it always gets confusing.  There's the law and then there's the Iraqi courts.  The party with the most seats in Parliament is supposed to get first crack at forming a government.  After the 2010 March election, Nouri pulled out a court verdict that none of the other parties knew about and presented it as law.

If the laws and rules are followed this go round and if Dagher's predictions ended up accurate, Hayder al-Abadi would have first crack at forming a government.  He would need to enter alliances with other groups.  You need 163 seats in the Parliament to govern.

And for 2018, what's expected?  Per Dagher, forming the government after the election will not come quickly, "It will take a long time.  It will take quiet a long time."  He did not reference 2010 but he did say he was basing this on the 2014 post-election process.  2010, of course, took eight months following the election for a government to be formed.

Corruption and jobs are the two biggest issues potential voters cite for how they will determine whom to vote for.  That explains Hayder's low turnout.  (Low?  In 2010, Ayad Allawi's group won 91 seats.)  Hayder has not reduced -- let alone ended -- corruption and job creation has not been present in Iraq.  Of course, many who do have jobs in Iraq have a different problem: getting paid for their work.

Ferhad Dolemeri (RUDAW) reports, "Kurdish farmers filed a complaint at Iraq's administrative court in Baghdad against the trade minister as part of their continued demands for not providing full compensation for their last four years of crops sold to Baghdad."