Friday, January 20, 2006

Those Results in Full...

The Iraqi elections results have now been declared.
  • United Iraqi Alliance: 128 seats
  • Kurdistan Alliance: 53
  • Iraqi Accord Front (Sunni): 44
  • Iraqi National List (secular-based): 25
  • Iraqi Front for National Dialogue (Sunni): 11
  • Other parties: 14
These are important numbers. It appears that they will represent the political situation in Iraq for the next four years.

The parliament has 275 seats. For an overal majority of one, a party would need to get 138 seats. Under the new constitution, this simple majority is all that's required to pass bills into law on most issues. The UIA, the Shiite Islamic theocratic fundamentalist alliance, is 10 seats short of achieving that simple majority. That they did not win the 138 seats they required is a small glimmer of light in a very dark situation. In practise, as the most powerful party, they are unlikely to struggle to get the extra 10 votes they need when required.

The constitution requires a two thirds majority in support of some legislation, including ammendments to the constitution (although in some cases this reverts back to a simple majority if a stalemate results from the two thirds stipulation). The number required to carry through new laws in this case is 184 (or 92 to block them). The UIA and the Kurdish Alliance together have 181 votes. Not quite enough. On the other hand, the parties who protested the election results and those who seek to ammend the constitution have not reached the 92 seat they need to be block legislation either.

Much depends on the 14 seats won by the other parties. ABC News has reported that 5 of those seats were won the the Kurdish Islamic Group. (The ABC report studiously avoids mentioning that it is now extremely likely that over 2000 US soldiers have died so that Islamic fundamentalists can dominate Iraq - curse those evil liberals.) Will the UIA be able to garner the 10 seats it needs for a simple majority from these others? Will the Kurdish Alliance again form an alliance with the UIA as part of a deal over continuing movement towards full Kurdish autonomy? If they do, will they find the extra three votes they need to achieve the two thirds majority?

If I was a betting man, I know where I'd put my money. Sadly.

* Who said that the UIA would get "around 130 seats" almost exactly one month ago? To be fair, it was already fairly obvious to most people. Not, apparently, to Marcus though.

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