Iraq politics: Election update—Allawi ahead

FROM THE ECONOMIST INTELLIGENCE UNIT

With two-thirds of the votes in Iraq’s general election now counted, the Iraqiya list of Ayad Allawi, a former prime minister running on a non-sectarian ticket, looks like it has a good chance of ending up with the largest number of seats. This would make it extremely difficult for Nouri al-Maliki to hold on to the office of prime minister.

According to our collation of the figures that have come out of the Independent High Electoral Commission, Mr Allawi’s list has secured 28.3% of the total vote, as against 27.1% for Mr Maliki’s State of Law Alliance, 20.3% for the mainly Shia Iraqi National Alliance (INA) and 12% for the two principal Kurdish parties. We calculate that this would give Mr Allawi 92 seats in the 325-seat parliament, with 88 seats for Mr Maliki, 66 for the INA and 39 for the two Kurdish parties, with the remainder shared between five smaller parties and lists.

If our calculations prove to be correct once the final result comes out in a few days time, Mr Allawi would be in a position to form a government in coalition with the INA and the Kurdish parties, if he were to choose not to include Mr Maliki’s alliance.