Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s second term in office came as a result of a US-ordered compromise government after his party came in second place in the 2010 elections. It wasn’t expected to last at the time, and indeed the calls for Maliki’s resignation and early elections to be scheduled have grown dramatically.
Fueling those calls are thousands of Sunni protesters in Western Iraq, who are condemning Maliki for his consolidation of power and his persecution of Sunni Arabs, including members of his own “grand coalition.”
But the chorus is also including much of the Iraqiya Party, the secular bloc which most of the Sunni politicians belong to, and both Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq say that the current government has run its course and needs to be dissolved.
Iraqiya actually has more seats than Maliki’s State of Law Party, and could likely muster the votes to discuss early elections without any help. Both the Iraqi National Alliance, run by Moqtada al-Sadr, and the Kurdistan Alliance blocs would likely support such a move as well.
The biggest roadblock is Maliki’s centralization itself, as he had made himself not only Prime Minister, but Defense Minister, Chief of Army Staff, Interior Minister, Security Affairs Minister, and head of the national police force. This has given him direct control of materially the entire Iraqi military, and he has shown a willingness to use it to get what he wants. Though Iraq’s Constitution clearly makes early elections a possibility, Maliki’s own designs on unfettered power could make it difficult to translate that into a real vote.
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