Rasool Ali

Single title

Path to Government Formation in Iraq

by Hamzeh Hadad

How Violence and Elite Sectarianism lead to Consensus Governments

About three months after the Iraqi parliamentary election of October 10, 2021, no new government has been formed yet. Previous elections show that it takes time until the three presidencies – the speaker of parliament, the president and the prime minister – are decided upon, as only then, a new cabinet can be formed. While Iraq’s political factions are negotiating possible constellations Hamzeh Hadad, Marsin Alshamary and Hashim al-Rikabi address the impact the new electoral system had on the vote, the role of independent candidates and new political parties, and what it takes to form the next government. In part one of the publication series Hamzeh Hadad analyzes the Path to Government Formation in Iraq.
This report examines the current government formation process and compares it to previous ones, outlining themes that have emerged and theorizing how they might impact the formation of future governments. While the current process shares many commonalities with previous ones, it will nevertheless usher in some changes. The ongoing discourse surrounding the results of the election has extensively covered the commonalities, but it has failed to address three emergent themes: first, the return of the debate surrounding consensus government, and how that will influence the selection of the prime minister; second, the new type of violence occurring amidst government formation, which signals a shift from indiscriminate violence to targeted political violence; third and finally, the re-sectarianization of the electoral system and the entrenchment of muhasasa (informal ethno-sectarian quota) at a time when the public has strongly rejected it. This analysis outlines each of these themes in turn, utilizing interviews, public documents, reports, and public opinion data to describe the transformations that have occurred from 2005 to 2021. It concludes by reflecting on these themes and how they impact the duration of government formation and the next prime minister to be selected.

David Labude

David Labude

Research Associate

david.labude@kas.de +961 1 388 061/62 +961 1 388 064