Mohammed on Election Season

Mohammed at Iraq the Model reports:

The media has extensively covered the press conferences of the big slates and it was easy to see the divisions that happened inside the united alliance because their spokesman today was Abdulaziz Al-Hakim instead of Ali Al-Dabbagh or Ahmed Al-Chalabi who were the usual spokesmen in front of the press but not anymore since they departed the alliance and formed their own separate slates.
Dabbagh announced the formation of a group of independent technocrats and emphasized that religion and politics have to be separated and that religion must take the role described in the constitution but that would be all and “policies and development plans should stay far from religious beliefs”.

At the same time the founder of the united alliance Chalabi and his INC pulled from the alliance too and I think Chalabi is expecting the alliance to lose its leading position after the government it led showed a lot of weaknesses in running the country’s affairs in the past several months, add to that, Ayatollah Sistani so far refrained from endorsing the alliance.

Chalabi is obviously dissatisfied with the places his INC was offered within the alliance (only 3 places) and that is certainly not equal to their influence and position. Anyway, I don’t expect Chalabi would get a lot more than the 3 seats he was promised by the alliance.

The parties that remained in the alliance’s slate are the SCIRI, the Da’wa (two branches), the Sadrists, Fadheela party, Iraqi Hizbollah and some other smaller parties like the Islamic Turkmen union. This shows that this slate has assumed a pure sectarian identity after the few relatively liberal elements that used to be part of it decided to leave.
Al-Hakim promised his supporters a majority in the parliament but I actually doubt; things are much different now and no one slate can form a majority by itself.

This religious trend is facing stronger competition from the growing secular ...