A coalition led by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki won the most seats in the country’s first parliamentary elections since U.S. troops left in 2011, setting the stage for a lengthy period of political wrangling amid the worst violence since the civil war. Mr. Maliki’s State of Law coalition won 92 out of 328 parliamentary seats in the elections held in late April, three more seats than it won in 2010, the Iraqi High Election Commission said Monday, putting the Iraqi leader in a strong position to secure a third term. The result left many Iraqis wondering whether another four years under Mr. Maliki, a Shiite Muslim, would deepen the sectarian rancor and extend a political stalemate that has left the government adrift. Western diplomats and analysts say that further instability would also add to the region’s political maelstrom; Syria’s civil war has spilled over into Iraq.
To form a government, Mr. Maliki faces the likelihood of monthslong negotiations with former allies—many of whom now consider him a political enemy. Following the 2010 polls, lawmakers took nearly 10 months to form a government.
But while the 2010 elections unfolded during a period of relative calm, the coming talks will take place amid heightened levels of violence. More than 7,800 Iraqi civilians were killed in 2013—the most civilian deaths since the nearly 18,000 killed in 2007 at the height of the sectarian conflict, according to the United Nations. At least 2,300 were killed so far this year.
Full Article: Iraqi Leader Clinches Most Seats in Election – WSJ.com.