The winner of Iraq’s elections, Iyad Allawi, says he is open to alliances with any faction.
Preliminary results showed his cross-sectarian “Iraqiya” bloc won by a slim margin. But it was not close enough to the majority needed to rule alone.
So there will be a lot of negotiation before the shape of the new government is clear.
“My coalition has decided to be open to all the political parties, including the State of Law coalition, headed by the Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi National Alliance and the Kurdish alliance,” Allawi said. “Iraq is not owned by any person or any religious or political party. Iraq belongs to all Iraqis.”
Allawi’s bloc won two seats more than closest rival, the State of Law coalition, led by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who says he will challenge the results.
In Baghdad opinions were mixed.
“We are not satisfied with the election results. They were unfair. Many votes were counted wrongly. We demand a recount,” one resident said.
“I hope that the political blocs form the new government as soon as possible,” another said. “God willing, Allawi will be able to achieve security for Iraq and provide jobs for the unemployed. I’m hoping for the best for my home.”
But stability may be a long time coming.
Officials from al-Maliki’s bloc and the third-place finishers are also working toward a merger.
But any attempt to sideline Allawi could spark Sunni resentment and continue the cycle of the sectarian violence that has so long scarred the country.