5 coalitions prepare for Iraq election
BAGHDAD: Five political coalitions based largely on sectarian or ethnic lines will dominate the campaign for Iraq’s December 15 general elections, the final stepping stone in the country’s transition to democracy.
Iraqis prepared for the electoral campaigns as the US military announced three US soldiers were killed Saturday in two incidents in Iraq, and two more were reported dead in neighbouring Kuwait.
The main coalitions for Iraq’s December elections are:
- The dominant Shia “United Iraqi Alliance,” set up compete in last January’s general election and which has a majority in parliament. Two religious based parties, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and the Dawa party, form the backbone of the alliance.
Supporters of Shia firebrand cleric Moqtada Sadr, who earlier rose in arms against the US military, have joined the alliance.
Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the top Shia cleric, would not officially back any list, said one of his representatives. Last January Sistani openly backed the alliance.
- Two main Kurdish parties - the Democratic Kurdistan Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan - have renewed their alliance. However the small Islamic Union of Kurdistan has split and is running separately.
- The Iraqi National List, headed by former Iraqi prime minister and Washington favorite Iyad Allawi. The largely secular National List includes Allawi’s own Iraqi National Accord party, the Communist Party, socialists, and supporters of Sunni politicians Adnan Pachachi and Vice President Ghazi al-Yawar.
Appearing at a televised news conference Saturday alongside Allawi were communist leader Hamid Mejid Mussa as well as Pachachi, a former foreign minister.
“Growing ethnic polarisation risks causing endless conflict in Iraq which could also split along sectarian lines,” warned Allawi, who said only his own National List would offer a better deal for all.
- The Iraqi Concord Front, made up of three Sunni Arab parties. Sunnis make up about 20 percent of Iraq’s population and largely boycotted the January general election. But they came out in mass to vote against Iraq’s new constitution in the October 15 referendum.
- The National Congress for Iraq, led by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Chalabi, who split from the Shia alliance. The list includes Chalabi’s own Iraqi National Congress party, some monarchists, and the current ministers of justice and education, both Shias.
Chalabi has had a long and rocky relationship with Washington. After more than a year of frosty ties the relationship now seems to be on the mend. He is expected in Washington following an official invitation later this week, in a stunning political rehabilitation. afp