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Back To Square One

After their pre and post-election flirting, the State of Law coalition (SOL) and the Iraqi National Alliance (INA) have finally formed the first alliance two months after election day. An alliance which is identical in its sectarian nature and make-up to the United Iraqi Alliance of 2005. There are two peculiar points that can be picked up if one followed the news reports before the alliance was announced. Firstly, the conflicting statements by the leaders of both blocs and even within the same blocs about the alliance. Since it emerged that AlIraqiya was leading the count and might actually win, some in SOL and INA have been announcing that an alliance is imminent and while others have been denying this and claiming many stumbling blocks lie ahead. Secondly, the fact that negotiations were beginning to pick up pace between AlIraqiya and INA and even SOL.

The timing of the announcement is even more peculiar, a day after SOL had complained that the recount they had asked for is not being carried out properly and that so far all results seem to be consistent with initial count.

The other issue worth mentioning is the confusion on whether it is a merger or an alliance because of the legal and constitutional effect that it may have on the formation of the government.

In essence, this alliance seems to be rushed and inconclusive with many loose ends and contentious points, mainly the issue of choosing their nominee for Prime Minister. The only certainty is its attempt to exclude AlIraqiya from picking the PM.

The other interesting point that emerged today is that the deal stipulates that contentious issues will be resolved by the clergy in Najaf, further exposing the myth of nationalism promoted by these parties. One can only hope that the clergy will continue with their nationalist stance in these elections and refuse to interfere in the formation of the next government.

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