Former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi’s stunning victory in the March elections led to months of behind the scenes talks with various factions trying to form a government. It seems now a foregone conclusion, however, that this government will not include Allawi’s Iraqiya bloc.
Rather, Allawi insists, his bloc is going to wind up leading the opposition in parliament, warning that the power-sharing deals the Obama Administration was trying to broker is simply not coming together, and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s faction seems to be putting together a Shi’ite exclusive government.
While this is far from unprecedented, Israel’s Kadima Party also won the largest plurality in their nation’s 2009 elections before winding up in the opposition, it is particularly problematic when Allawi had managed to draw virtually the entirety of the nation’s Sunni Arab population under his banner.
The Sunni Arabs held relatively little influence in the previous US-brokered coalition governments, with the group holding a vice presidency and the speakership. But now, with far more Sunni MPs, the Iraqiya bloc may well win up with neither, serving entirely in the opposition role while the voters that put them there grow increasingly disillusioned with their lack of clout.