Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki seems all but ensured to win another term in office today, as the continued count of this month’s election now projects his party winning an overwhelming plurality of 94 seats in the 350-seat parliament
That’s a minor increase from the 89 seats Maliki’s State of Law Party won in 2010, but no other blocs are anywhere near as high, as the 2010 winner, the Iraqiya Party, fell from 91 seats in 2010 to only 21 this time around.
Iraqiya’s loss reflects that their party’s power base, the Anbar Province, largely wasn’t able to vote at all this time around, as much of the province is under al-Qaeda control and didn’t participate in the election.
Also, unlike in 2010, the Iraqi National Alliance (INA) didn’t run as a cohesive faction, but constituent members the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council and the Sadrist Trend won 29 and 28 seats, respectively.
Finding partners for Maliki to get a majority in parliament will still be no small task, but with no other big factions in a real position to play spoiler many of the independent Shi’ite candidates are said to be rallying behind Maliki, hoping that getting on board with the next term early can get them some enhanced influence in a government that seems increasingly an inevitability.