Allawi takes slim lead in Iraq election
Click chart to view the distribution of seats among Iraq's major parties, based on the uncertified election results, 100 percent counted. Source: "The Uncertified Election Results: Allawi Comes Out on Top ," Historiae.org.
With 100 percent of the votes counted, former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's secular Iraqi National Movement (Iraqiya) party has taken a slim two-seat lead (91 seats) in the parliament race over Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki's State of Law Coalition (89 seats). The Iraqi National Alliance, which is made up of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, Ahmed Chalabi, and the Sadrists, took third place with 70 seats; and the Kurdish Alliance came in fourth with 43 seats.
Prime Minister Maliki's party is unhappy with the results and may officially contest the election. The Independent High Election Commission has stated, however, that the election is fair and that a manual recount will not take place. Maliki may still attempt to form a government "due to a ruling by the federal supreme court yesterday which explicitly makes it clear that the key definition of 'the largest bloc in parliament' (which is supposed to form the next government) can also include post-election bloc formation," according to Iraq expert Reidar Visser.
Visser also explains the mechanics of how the formation of the next government will occur:
The new president, in turn, is to be elected within 30 days of the first parliamentary meeting. The constitution stipulates an aspiration of a two thirds majority for the election of the president but allows for a simple-majority run-off in case that requirement should prove elusive. This in turn means that it is the 163 mark that needs to be met in order to secure the election of the president and thereby get the government-formation process on track in earnest, with a deadline of another fifteen days for the president to formally charge the nominee of the biggest parliamentary bloc to form a government within another thirty days. In other words, if certification takes place around 1 April, a meeting of the new parliament must be held within 15 April, a new president must be elected within 15 May, a PM nominee must be identified by 1 June, and a new cabinet must be presented for approval by parliament before 1 July.