In the historic Iraq election of Jan. 30, the United Iraqi Alliance, the party blessed by Shiite Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, won just 48 percent of the 8.5 million votes cast.
That means two very good things:
(1) Iraqi voters aren’t simply following their religious leaders, so an Iraq theocracy is impossible. (Note, too, that even Sistani has not called for a theocracy.)
(2) The Shiites will have to work and compromise with the Sunni Arabs and Kurds to write a constitution that protects every Iraqi’s rights.
The three-province veto. As Iraq’s new 275-member National Assembly prepares that consitution, it will face several key votes that must pass by two-thirds. And then, the draft constitution cannot be adopted if three or more Iraqi provinces don’t approve it in an October referendum. Three of 18 Iraq’s provinces are Sunni Arab.
The Jan. 30 vote tallies, as reported today:
United Iraqi Alliance: 4,075,295, or 48 percent.
Kurdistan Alliance: 2,175,551, or 26 percent.
The Iraqi List (Prime Minister Ayad Allawi’s ticket): 1,168,943, or 14 percent.
Iraqis Party (President Ghazi al-Yawer’s ticket): 150,680, or 1.8 percent.
Turkomen Iraqi Front: 93,480, or 1.1 percent.
National Independent Elites and Cadres Party: 69,938, or 0.8 percent.
Communist Party: 69,920, or 0.8 percent.
Islamic Kurdish Society: 60,592, or 0.7 percent.
Islamic Labor Movement in Iraq: 43,205, or 0.5 percent.
National Democratic Alliance: 36,795, or 0.4 percent.
National Rafidain List (Assyrian Christian): 36,255, or 0.4 percent.
Reconciliation and Liberation Entity: 30,796, or 0.4 percent.
Iraqi Islamic Party (Sunni): 21,342, or 0.3 percent.
Assembly of Independent Democrats (Sunni): 12,728, or 0.1 percent.
National Democratic Party: 1,603, or 0.02 percent.
A total of 8,550,571 votes were cast, but 94,305 were declared invalid, leaving 8,456,266 valid votes. About 58 percent of Iraq’s 14 million eligible voters went to the polls.
This is a good start.