Wow. When the unexpected happens in an election, it’s a good market test of whether balloting really does serve as a credible system of expressing the public’s will.
Incumbents hardly ever lose — particularly in the Middle East.
Despite Hamas winning the elections in Palestine a few years ago, President George W. Bush nonetheless maintained the mantra that those elections were the fairest and freest yet held in the Middle East. And they were — though we ended up punishing the victors.
And today, it has just been announced that Ayad Allawi’s Iraqiya coalition has won the most seats in Iraq’s parliament.
There may be trouble ahead. I don’t think al Maliki will step back easily or will be enthused about playing the minority role in a coalition government.
But these election results are surprising as it’s rare to see incumbent governments in the Middle East lose, or if they do lose — to let that loss be actualized.
Watch out Ahmed Chalabi. We hear that Ayad Allawi is not his greatest fan.
More soon. Off to Philadelphia.
— Steve Clemons