Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi today insisted that he must get the opportunity to form the next Iraqi government by virtue of his party getting the most votes in the March 7 election, warning that the nation would face “really severe chaos” if this did not happen.
The Iraqiya bloc won 91 seats in the vote, while the rival State of Law bloc won 89. Legally speaking the bloc with the most seats is supposed to get the first opportunity, but State of Law leader and current PM Nouri al-Maliki has ordered Iraqiya MPs arrested and insists his bloc may get the first opportunity by virtue of having the most MPs that haven’t been banned by the government or arrested.
Allawi has already conceded that the effort to form the government is going to take months, but today warned that if the new government wasn’t seated by the end of August there would be a “tipping point” to restart the sectarian war.
For either side to get the 163 seats needed to form the government they must inevitably court the Iraqi National Alliance (INA), the 70 seat third-place finisher led by cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Sadr’s bloc held a major rally today urging unity between Sunnis and Shi’ites and against the US military occupation.
Sadr’s bloc has balked at supporting either side so far, and last weekend held a referendum asking for input on the next Iraqi PM. The referendum was won by INA member Ibrahim al-Jaafari, with Allawi and Maliki getting 9 and 10 percent of the votes, respectively.