Monday, April 26, 2010

The Battle for Baghdad

The election results in Iraq are still being disputed:

An Iraqi court disqualified 52 candidates Monday from the country's parliamentary elections, including two who won seats, and threw out their votes in a decision that could potentially change the outcome of the March 7 vote.

At least one of the winning candidates came from the coalition of secular challenger Ayad Allawi, which won 91 seats compared with 89 seats for a bloc led by incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said Saad al-Rawi, a member of the independent commission that oversees Iraq's elections.

He said a special court tasked with reviewing election-related complaints informed the commission of its decision Monday.

However, al-Rawi said it was still unclear how the decision would affect the outcome until the commission is able to recalculate the results once those votes have been removed. He said he did not expect the decision to affect the position of Allawi's Iraqiya bloc because the barred candidates from his coalition only won a limited number of votes.

"The new process will be complicated because we need to do calculations again in order to decide whether this court decision will have an effect on the distribution of seats within the bloc," al-Rawi said.

He said if the new calculations show the coalitions still have the votes to hold onto all their seats, then they can replace barred candidates with the next one on their list who received the most votes.

The dispute is so far peaceful and based on the rules that the election was run with. I hope our influence is being used to make sure the rules are followed.

Whatever happens, we need to make sure that the ultimate losers see the outcome as valid. If not, losers will be tempted to resort to terror in order to reverse what is viewed as a stolen election.

We must also make sure that winners and losers understand that there will be another vote so they must rule well; and that until that next election is held, they must govern and oppose under rule of law.

Entrenching rule of law in Iraq may well be the most difficult objective we have in the Iraq War.