Iraq’s Allawi Starts Negotiations for New Government

Following his group’s narrow victory over incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki‘s coalition in the recently concluded Iraq parliamentary elections, Ayad Allawi has started the process of building a new government. Allawi, whose group won two more seats than the al-Maliki coalition, is hoping to regain the premiership that he lost four years ago.

However, Allawi’s wheeling and dealing is expected to encounter rough waters as al-Maliki’s group has vowed to reject the results of the elections due to allegations of widespread cheating. An official at al-Maliki’s camp, Sami al-Askari, said their group can either “continue the challenge in a legal and constitutional way” or “continue demanding the manual recount.”

Political observers believe that the next few months would be a crucial test to the stability of Iraq, especially since the Supreme Court recently ruled that losing groups could combined forces to form the new government, leaving the door open for al-Maliki to retain his position.