SCIRI Sweeps Provincial Elections in South
There is a rumor going around that interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has formed a parliamentary coaltion with the Kurds in a bid to create a government, which requires a 2/3s majority in parliament.
If the United Iraqi Alliance gets more than about 36 percent of the seats, however, no government can be formed without this Shiite list being included. You need 66 percent. If UIA has 50 percent of seats, e.g., there is no way they could be sidelined while someone else formed a government. Allawi’s list may get as few as 12 or thirteen percent, and even the Kurds can’t hope for more than 23 percent or so of the vote.
Guerrillas detonated a car bomb Sunday at a checkpoint between Hilla and the holy city of Karbala. The annual commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Husain, the Prophet’s grandson,” will begin soon. Ashura is a major event on the religious calendar for Shiites, and many pilgrims will come south to Karbala for it.
The Financial Times reports that the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq had pulled ahead of its rivals in the provincial elections:
‘ The People of Baghdad list, Sciri’s slate for the capital’s municipal council, took 694,800 votes out of the 1,772,372 ballots cast in the provincial race, almost three times as many as its nearest rival, Baghdad Peace, associated with its main Shia rival, the Dawa party, and several other Islamist groups. Sciri affiliates also won the largest number of votes in at least five out of eight other Shia majority governorates – underlining that their success was not just a Baghdad phenomenon. Other Islamist groups affiliated with various factions of the Dawa party, the Virtue party, and the followers of the radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr were also making strong showings. ‘
Lists that support the puritanical al-Sadr tendency appear to have won in Wasit and Maysan provinces, though in Maysan the Sadrists were split among two parties, so only if they vote as a bloc in the 40-member council will they have a joint 21 seat majority there. Their relationship to Muqtada al-Sadr himself is controversital.