After the Polls

Allawi's Next Challenge in Iraq

Iraq’s government just got a potential overhaul. Ayad Allawi’s secularist Iraqiya coalition has beaten out Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s Shiite State of Law Party in Iraq’s parliamentary elections by just two seats. The small victory margin throws the election results into question; not only does Maliki claim voter fraud, but according to an Iraqi Supreme Federal Court decision, whichever candidate can form a majority government within 30 days has the right to govern. Politicians warned of violence after the election, and al-Maliki’s supporters immediately took to the streets. Al-Maliki had demanded a manual recount when his initial lead in the polls started to narrow, but Iraq’s electoral commission so far has rejected his charges. He still has yet to accept defeat and, according to the Iraqi electoral process, has a three-day period to lodge complaints before results are ratified. Now, Allawi's real challenge begins—forming a majority government.