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Exclusive - Iraq’s Dawa Party Seeks to Regroup Following Political Losses

Exclusive - Iraq’s Dawa Party Seeks to Regroup Following Political Losses

Saturday, 13 October, 2018 - 06:30
Former Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi. (Reuters)
Baghdad - Asharq Al-Awsat
During the first parliamentary elections to take place in Iraq, in December 2005, the Islamic Dawa party managed to win 12 out of 128 seats claimed by the “United Iraqi Coalition” in the 275-seat legislature.

Thirteen years later and after the party had occupied the position of prime minister throughout this period, the May elections once against earned it 12 seats at the legislature. This time it reaped these positions despite divisions between the State of Law list of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Victory Alliance of former PM Haidar al-Abadi.

Maliki had served as prime minister from 2006 to 2014 and Abadi from 2014 to 2018.

The Dawa’s opponents believe that its losses in this year’s elections can be blamed on its years in occupying the premiership.

“Power has harmed the party and struck the final nail in the coffin of its political future,” they said.

Others said that its failure to retain the premiership will give it the opportunity to “weed out” the unfaithful members of the party, who had abused their positions to pursue personal interests.

Dawa member Jassem Mohammed Jaafar told Asharq Al-Awsat that the party “was unafraid of what may befall some of its members after the loss of the premiership.”

He acknowledged that the party was carrying out a “comprehensive revision of the difficult circumstances that it had endured during the recent phase, especially in wake of the division between Maliki and Abadi,” who had led separate rival lists during the elections.

Had the two officials united their lists, the Dawa would have doubled its gains during the polls, said Jaafar.

“Unity must be reached once again in the party to avoid repeating the same mistake,” he suggested.

Despite the challenges the party has faced since the 1950s, Jaafar ruled out the possibility that the Dawa would separate into two rival currents, one led by Maliki and the other led by Abadi.

He did, however, predict that promising fresh young faces would emerge in the party.

Another Dawa member, Qassem Mohammed Jabbar, echoed Jaafar’s stances, saying that he too ruled out any division in the party.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that Maliki and Abadi could have made up for their losses in the elections by uniting in the post-elections period, “but unfortunately, that did not happen and led to the party’s defeat.”

He added, however, that all was not lost after the Dawa was no longer occupying the position of the premiership.

“This will give us a good chance to review our actions,” he stated.

Moreover, he remarked that the divisions within the party were fueled by political interests and greed for power.

A real desire exists today to launch a new phase of reforms and rapprochement with the people, Jabbar declared.

In addition, he said that the Dawa’s loss of the position of prime minister is not attributed to its performance while it was in power, but to the competing political blocs that succeeded this time in keeping the party away from power.

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