Maliki weakened but still relatively strong
Hayder al-Khoei (
@Hayder_alKhoei) is reporting unofficial Iraq results from yesterday’s election for numbers of seats in parliament (total number of seats is 328, 165 needed for a majority):
These are not final numbers, which often vary from initial reports.
If these hold, Maliki has done less well than many anticipated (80-90 was a common figure when I was in Iraq last month). He will need Hakim or Sadr or both to stick with him in order to win a third mandate. If he fails at that, the chances for an anti-Maliki coalition (presumably based on Hakim, Sadr, Nujaifi plus the Kurds) would rise significantly.
In any event, this is a more fragmented result than in 2010, when Allawi’s Iraqiyya beat Maliki 91 to 89 but Maliki formed a larger post-electoral coalition. Fragmentation could mean a lengthy government-formation period. Maliki would remain a caretaker with no parliament in place until the speaker is chosen and a president elected. That would give him time and running room, which he is adept at using.
We’ll have to wait and see whether this unofficial tally holds.