October 31, 2009 was the deadline to register coalitions for the 2010 parliamentary elections. On that day a new list called the Iraqi National Movement was announced made up of parliamentarian Saleh al-Mutlaq of the National Dialogue Council, former Prime Minister Ilyad Allawi of the Iraqi National List, and Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi. He was the former leader of the Iraqi Islamic Party, but left to form his own Renewal List. Hashemi had been in negotiations with Allawi and Mutlaq since August, and there were talks with Interior Minister Jawad Bolani and his Constitution Party. He chose to join Sheikh Ahmad Abu Risha of Anbar to form the Unity Alliance instead. Allawi was also courted by the major Shiite coalition, the Iraqi National Alliance. Hashemi may be responsible for the Awakening Councils of Diyala joining the Iraqi National Movement as well. The Islamic Party successfully co-opted the Sons of Iraq/Awakening movement in Diyala in 2007-2008, which helped their Iraqi Accordance Front List to come in first place in the 2009 elections there.
The Iraqi National Movement includes both Shiites, Allawi, and Sunnis, Mutlaq and Hashemi, but its main appeal is to Baathists and nationalists. Since the U.S. invasion Mutlaq and Allawi have consistently pushed for the inclusion and rehabilitation of former army officers from Saddam’s time along with Baathists. Hashemi on the other hand has roots with the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group that originated in Egypt, which gave birth to the Iraqi Islamic Party. All three also call for a strong central government, and to limit outside influences, especially from Iran.
Overall, the Iraqi National Movement is a medium sized coalition. In the 2009 provincial elections, Mutlaq and Allawi won 45 seats, accounting for 10.2% of the total. Allawi’s List gained seats in both the largely Sunni west and north, and a spattering across Shiite southern Iraq as well, and became part of the ruling coalitions in Babil, Qadisiyah, and Salahaddin. Mutlaq only gained representation in Sunnis areas, and came in second in Anbar where his party got the head of the council. In comparison, Maliki’s State of Law list won 140 seats, 31.8%, the Supreme Council got 55 seats, 12.5%, the Sadrists 41 seats, 9.3%, and former Prime Minister Ibrahima al-Jaafari 23 seats, 5.2%. Together those last three have formed the new Iraqi National Alliance, and got 119 seats total, 27.0%. The real importance of the Iraqi National Movement will be seen after the election, as no coalition is likely to even come out with a plurality. That will mean a huge amount of back door dealing and negotiations to name a new government, which will likely take months as it did the last two times Iraq went through that process.
Allawi and Mutlaq’s Showing In The 2009 Provincial Elections
Total Provincial Seats: 440
Allawi’s Iraqi National List – Provinces (# of seats)
TOTAL: 26, 5.9%
Mutlaq’s Iraqi National Project – Provinces (# of seats)
TOTAL: 19, 4.3%
Agence France Presse, “Iraqi VP joins forces with ex-PM to form new bloc,” 10/28/09
Alsumaria, “New Iraq political coalition in the offing,” 8/24/09
Aswat al-Iraq, “Iraq’s Unity Alliance formally announced,” 10/21/09
- “VP announces new list for upcoming parliamentary elections,” 9/12/09
Iraq The Model, “Accord Front Collapses, Sunni Tribes Seek Shiite Allies,” 8/15/09
Al Jazeera, “Iraqi parties form new coalition,” 10/31/09
Roads To Iraq, “The National Movement,” 10/31/09
Visser, Reidar, “Allawi-Mutlak: Consolidation at the Centre of Iraqi Politics,” Ira and Gulf Analysis, 10/27/09