Iraq’s State of Law bloc is under growing pressure from rival Shi’ite factions, notably the Ahrar Party of Moqtada al-Sadr, to offer up a new candidate for premier that isn’t Nouri al-Maliki.
Maliki, the head of State of Law and its largest faction, the Dawa Party, has insisted he wants to serve a third term in office, but amid a growing sectarian war there is little support for him to continue, and eagerness to see more potential candidates on the ballot.
So far the candidates mentioned have primarily been from the rival Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC), though the Sadr bloc has also suggested support for Ahmad Chalabi.
But the ramshackle election, which excluded several major cities that had been lost to ISIS, left State of Law with the largest plurality, and if they don’t run a (non-Maliki) candidate it is difficult to envision anyone getting majority support. The ongoing war means this isn’t a great time for Iraq to consider a new election, and it would have to exclude virtually the whole Sunni Arab portion of the nation, now under ISIS rule.
Last week, parliament met for the first time to discuss the matter, but collapse almost immediately. They are scheduled to meet again this week, though whether there is any momentum is unclear at this point.