ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Divided after the Invasion

Elections have not closed the ethnic fault lines that have torn apart a post-invasion Iraq.

It has been seven years since the US-led coalition troops invaded Iraq. In the intervening period the country has been torn apart by a brutal military occupation, ethnic strife and anti-occupation insurgency. The violence in the form of bombing public place and sectarian battles has not ended though it is at a lower intensity than before. The invaders have, time and again, claimed that they have brought “democracy” to Iraq. But the violence that has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, the sweeping corruption and poor governance make such claims farcical. Two national elections, in 2005 and 2010, have not changed Iraq for the better.

As in 2005, the electoral verdict in 2010 has been more or less split on ethnic lines. The Kurds in northern Iraq have voted yet again for Kurdish parties. The Sunnis voted for the al-Iraqiyya coalition led by former prime minister Ayad Allawi who stitched together an alliance of Shias and Sunnis (including sections of disenfranchised ex-Baathists) that claimed secular credentials. The Shia vote was split between Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki’s Islamic Dawa Party-led grouping – the State of Law coalition – and the radical Shia and nationalist cleric Moqtada al Sadr-dominated National Iraqi Alliance, which was led by another former prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari. Ayad Allawi’s coalition (91 seats) has edged past the State of Law coalition (89 seats) and the National Iraqi Alliance has garnered 70 seats in the open list, proportional representation system-based elections to a council of representatives where there are 325 seats.

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