Yesterday’s ruling by an Iraqi court had already destroyed what little plurality the Iraqiya party had won in the March 7 election, but the Justice and Accountability Commission (JAC) in looking to cut even deeper into this, as commission leader Ali al-Lami expects a ruling in the next few days on his effort to ban nine more winning MPs.
Al-Lami failed to win a seat of his own in the election (ally Ahmed Chalabi won the only seat in his party), but retains enormous power by way of his ability to oust candidates and even victorious MPs over claims of past Ba’ath Party membership.
The exact party constitution of the nine MPs facing ban now was not revealed, but is widely believed to be almost exclusively members of Iraqiya, as JAC’s previous bannings have centered nearly exclusively around the secular bloc’s Sunni members.
Ahead of the election, JAC banned several hundred candidates on the basis of these claims. Though the candidates retained a legal right to challenge the ban, the election commission refused to consider virtually every challenge, claiming the paperwork was improperly filed.
The results of the election were initially 91 seats for Iraqiya, 89 for State of Law, and 70 for the Iraqi National Alliance (INA). Iraqiya has already lost two seats to yesterday’s court ruling however, and at least one other member is being held by the government for undisclosed reasons. The State of Law has also predicted it will take seats from Iraqiya in the Baghdad recount, and the JAC has suggested Iraqiya’s lost seats could be given to State of Law or the INA through convoluted formulas. The final seat count thus might not be clear for further weeks or even months.