The latest prospect for a major move toward a coalition government in Iraq has fallen apart this evening after former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi’s last minute cancellation of his trip to Syria, during which he was to meet with high profile Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
The Sadr-Allawi pairing may seem unlikely, as the two have a long-standing rivalry dating back to Allawi’s term in office, but it is no more unlikely than any of the other prospective coalitions, none of which seems to have any particular momentum at this point.
Allawi’s Iraqiya bloc won a narrow plurality in the March 7 election, with 91 seats compared to the second place finisher, current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law bloc’s 89. Sadr’s Iraqi National Alliance finished third with 70.
Though in theory it would be possible to form a coalition with any two of those blocs and some minor partners, it seems increasingly unrealistic that any of the three will be willing to back another bloc’s bid for the prime ministership. This could mean a weak coalition with a revolving prime ministership, or perhaps more likely no government being formed at all from this election