United Iraqi Alliance win slight majority

Thursday, February 17, 2005

How the new assembly stands
How the new assembly stands

Final figures from Baghdad today showed that the Shia United Iraqi Alliance has won a slight majority in the new Iraqi National Assembly. The party took 140 out of the 275 seats in the Assembly.

The major opposition party will be the Kurdish Alliance, which took 75 seats. The third largest party will be that of interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's party, which won 40 seats.

Reports in U.S. media say that many Sunni voters stayed away from the polls either because of a fear of violence or to support the call by some radical clerics to boycott the elections. As a result, the Sunni-led Iraqis Party won only five seats in parliament. The results are summarized in the following table:

Seats Percentage Party/Population Group
140 51% United Iraqi Alliance/Shiite
40 15% Allawi's Party/Shiite
75 27% Kurdish Alliance/Kurdish
5 2% Iraqis Party/Sunni
15 5% Other
275 100% Total

Chief UN election adviser, Carlos Valenzuela, congratulated those involved with the election. He commented that "The elections were not perfect, they were never meant to be, but they were extremely successful."

There were fears before the election in international circles that a low turnout could jepordise the legitimacy of the new assembly. However, nearly 8.5 million Iraqis voted - 58% of the registered electorate. As noted previously, the turnout percentage did vary significantly among the various population groups. By combining the two different Shiite parties and comparing to estimated population groups in Iraq we find:

Percent of
Estimated Population
Population Group
65% 40%-50% Shiite
27% 15%-20% Kurdish
2% 32%-37% Sunni
5% 3%-5% Other
100% 90%-112% Total

The Shiite and Kurdish groups had more than 80% turnout whereas the Sunni group had a turnout under 4%. The low turnout by Sunni voters resulted in much higher representative success for both the Shiite and Kurdish groups in the parliament.