(BAGHDAD) — Embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law bloc did only fair in last month’s local elections, according to official results released Saturday by Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission.
The fact that the prime minister’s party did not achieve a majority in any of 12 provinces could possibly spell trouble for him in 2013 when Iraqis choose a new parliament, the body that decides who Iraq’s next leaders will be.
In seven provinces, most importantly in Baghdad and Shiite-dominated Basra, State of Law picked up the largest number of seats but under half of the votes each time. In one province, it tied with another party for seats while losing outright in four other provinces.
This might force al-Maliki to appeal more to the religious Shiite parties as well as the Kurds next year as he scrounges for votes.
His popularity with Sunnis is at an all-time low in the wake of recent conflicts the Iraqi military has had with Sunni tribesmen, clashes that have triggered fears of a return to mass sectarian violence that nearly destroyed the fledgling democracy several years ago.
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Steve Almasy, CNN
Chris Williams and Jason Hanna, CNN
KJ Kwon and Ben Westcott, CNN