Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Allawi may be the new Mousavi - rejecting the legal electoral process and calling people to the streets

I've always been suspicious of the Iraqi electoral system. Votes are taken, and the reports are released up to two weeks later. As far as I can tell, between when the vote is made and when its result is reported, there is no opposed oversight, nobody who can say "that vote count does not match the results I saw". I'm not sure how it is even possible to justify a two week delay. What purpose could it serve other than to provide opportunities for vote-rigging?

But I've always had confidence in the resources of parties in Iraq that are not under US-control. If the US added votes to Allawi's roll, given that Allawi is an open though supposedly former CIA asset, Sadr and Maliki would not have to ask college students and young people to risk their lives in protests. They have resources to investigate, get to the bottom of the matter and correct it. They can guarantee an outcome in line with the Iraqi idea of justice. They can ensure that one way or another, there will not be an election result implemented that is wildly out of line with the preferences of the Iraqi people.

But now Allawi is claiming that a recount may lead him to ask his supporters to go outside of Iraq's legal structures to protest.
The Sunni-backed Iraqiya political party, which won the most seats in recent parliamentary elections, said Wednesday that it might call for the establishment of a caretaker government to oversee a new election -- escalating a political crisis.


The prime minister and other Shiite leaders have called the recent challenges to the election results lawful processes that must run their course. Allawi said Wednesday's statement would be Iraqiya's final appeal for fairness. He ominously warned that the party would henceforth "revert to the Iraqi people to implement their will."
A couple of things here. First, there is not going to be a caretaker government. One of the interesting things about Iraq's political system is that the current leader remains in place until a new leader is agreed on by enough Parliament voters, but Maliki has enough support to block an agreement about any new leader.

Second, if a manual recount, this time done transparently, where there will be a direct and easily traceable connection between the votes and the vote reports, does not show that Maliki has enough voter support to gain the seat of Prime Minister, then Allawi also does not have the support to win any civil war and can not claim to represent the will of the Iraqi people.

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