The Iraq parliamentary elections were held back on March 7. The elections were notable for having the first participation of large numbers of Sunnis, and for having the first participation of the Sadrist block.
Al-Iraqiyya list and Ayad Allawi, a secular Shi'a and Sunni coalition, won with 91 seats.
The State of Law Coalition, tied tightly to Shi'a Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the Dawa party, came in a close second with 89 seats.
The National Iraqi Alliance, a Shi'a fundamentalist coalition including Sadrists, came in third with 70 seats.
The Kurdistan Alliance came in fourth, with 43 seats.
Choosing a Prime Minister involves wrangling out a coalition.
The process for parliamentary coalition building in Iraq includes a period of assassinations, disappearances, and bombings. This process has been going on since the March election.
The political bickering has angered residents as government services deteriorate and attacks kill scores of civilians each month.
At least 396 civilians died in attacks in July, according to Iraqi government officials who compile data from records kept by the Interior, Defense and Health ministries.
At least 680 civilians were wounded in attacks, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the government does not release the data publicly. The July figures also show that 50 Iraqi soldiers and 89 police officers were killed.
The U.S. military disputed the accuracy of the figures, saying far fewer people were killed in July.
Current Prime Minister and second place finisher Nouri al-Maliki has been wrapping himself in cult of personality trappings lately. He is the State, state security is the most important thing, and threats to his position as head of state are threats to the nation. "The State of Law Coalition" expresses that.
The United States has been bluntly supporting al-Maliki. With the additional complication that we do not want any Sadrist strength in a coalition.
A more secular coalition of Allawi and al-Maliki is wrecked by al-Maliki's insistence on holding on to the Prime Minister spot.
The election update here is that negotiations between al-Maliki and the Islamists have broken down.
The followers of Muqtada al-Sadr, who form a king-making bloc in the next Iraqi government, have confirmed they will not accept Prime Minister Nour al-Maliki's candidacy for a second term as leader.
The move effectively ends the career of the US-backed incumbent.
Aaraji said the religious parties would open a new round of talks with their counterparts in Allawi's bloc and a Kurdish coalition in coming days. He said they would resume talks with Maliki's slate only if he agrees to nominate a substitute candidate for prime minister.
Ahmed Chalabi led a de-Baathification commission involved in a lot of shenanigans around the election. Our old friend is somehow back in the news:
The move against Maliki was announced yesterday by former deputy prime minister, Ahmed Chalabi, whose Iraqi National Congress Party has allied with the Sadrists and the main party in their bloc.
In Iraq, an impasse as U.S. troops draw down - LA Times.