Political Turmoil in Iraq’s Dawa Party ahead of Next Year's Elections

Monday, 20 November, 2017 - 13:15
Baghdad - Asharq Al-Awsat

Iraq’s Islamic Dawa Party will run in the upcoming legislative elections with two different electoral lists, said informed sources.

The first will be led by Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi and the second by Vice President and party Secretary General Nouri al-Maliki.

Up until recently, there was speculation on whether the party will split into two competing wings in the upcoming general elections. Yet, as the sources indicated, these theories have now been realized with both Maliki and Abadi's unwillingness to head to the elections within a unified coalition.

Senior officials from the Dawa and State of Law Coalition tried to unify the ranks of the party in preparation for the May elections, however both Maliki and Abadi held their ground and announced they will wage the elections with two separate lists.

One of the sources did not rule out the possibility that the two leaders would form a parliamentary alliance after the elections, but that depends on whether either side wins any seats at parliament.

For weeks now, it has been reported that Abadi intends to form a “Liberation and Construction” electoral list. Sources also stated that his future depends on the result of the power struggle between him and former PM Maliki.

Maliki's leadership may weaken amid Abadi's growing popularity following the military victories over ISIS, his firm position on the Kurdistan independence referendum and federal government's control over the Kirkuk province, sources explained.

Those same sources are not underestimating Maliki’s clout, who still has a chance of winning over the party given that he still enjoys good ties, which he forged during his term in office between 2006 and 2014, with many of its senior officials who are still loyal to him.

With that, and given the history of rifts within the Dawa, observers believe that the party is facing huge political turmoil as a result of Abadi and Maliki's intentions to run with two different electoral lists. This inevitably means that the party will be splitting into competing wings, with the potential formation of rivalries in the future.

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