[size=36]Report: Al-Kazemi’s exit from the premiership ends the balance of American and Iranian interests in Iraq[/size]
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Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi called upon casting his vote in the parliamentary elections not to miss the opportunity for change. However, the facts that the results are expected to reveal indicate that the opportunity has passed before the elections begin and that change, if it will happen, will be postponed until the elections of 2025 when the forces of change are able to reorganize themselves.
Nevertheless, these elections have international and regional follow-up, as their results are expected to shape Iraq's foreign policy in the coming years. According to Al-Arab newspaper.
There are 3,249 candidates, 21 coalitions, and 109 parties competing in the elections, and among these parties of the forces of change there are only two parties: the "I'm Going to Take My Right" movement headed by Mashreq Al-Fariji, which presented 19 candidates, and the "Extension" movement headed by Alaa Al-Rikabi, which presented 38 candidates. And if these two movements happened to win everything they ran for, they would only win 57 seats out of 329 seats in Parliament.
As for the other opposition forces for change, they boycotted the elections and organized into two coalitions: the first is the “National Coalition” headed by Iyad Allawi and includes the “National Accord Party” and the “Iraq Advocates for the State Support Party,” despite the fact that 36 candidates remain registered for them in the candidate records. The second is the “Civil Democratic Alliance” headed by Ali al-Rafi’i, and it includes the “Iraqi Communist Party” headed by resigned MP Raed Fahmy, the “National Footprint Party” and the “Social Democratic Current.” There are still 23 candidates for this alliance who remain registered. And if the registrants in these two coalitions win, they will not gather more than 59 candidates, which means that the forces that have dominated the political scene over the past 18 years will remain the dominant force for the next four years.
There are speculations indicating the progress of the "Sadr bloc", which ran in the elections with 95 candidates and a number of "independents" affiliated with it.
Observers say that the widespread boycott of the elections indicates that about 10 million voters do not trust that change will happen, and that the atmosphere of corruption and political money will remain the main player in the new parliament.
Bassem Al-Sheikh, a spokesman for the “opposition forces rally,” which hopes to play a greater role in the coming years, told Al-Arab that “the aim of launching the assembly as an opposition front is to confront corruption and foreign interference and coordinate to unify efforts and political and protest positions that reject the wrong approach in managing the state.”
The “Opposition Forces Gathering” plans to unite the parties opposed to the forces of corruption “to create a popular opposition that frames the protest action, and tries to form an effective pressure card to produce real change that corrects the paths and changes the corrupt and failed system that was unable to provide anything for the Iraqi people.” It is not likely that this work will lead to the formation of an effective electoral bloc before the passage of several years.
And the International Crisis Resolution (ICG) said in a report issued last July that “young Iraqis, who have honed their political awareness and skills through street activism over the past two years, are now facing the challenge of finding their place in a political landscape dominated by parties that They rejected it.”
However, the leader of the Awareness Movement, Salah al-Arbawi, says that the elections will bring about a “little change.” He added, in statements to Rudaw Network, that “the current elections are fateful, either they take the regime’s train to the abyss and fall, or bring it back to the tracks.” In both cases, the change will have more subjective and objective components after four years.
Dr. Nizar Abdul Ghaffar al-Samarrai, an Iraqi political analyst, said in statements to Al-Dustour newspaper that there is a glimmer of hope for change, even if it is partial. He noted that the current elections differed from the previous ones by the fading of sectarian conflict and the emergence of conflicts within the same component.
And change, according to most observers, needs to form alliances capable of attracting voters with a clear program of change, and to be far from the alliances that led Iraq to economic failure.
However, the parliamentary elections are expected to chart the direction of Iraq's foreign policy at an important time in the Middle East, as Iraq mediates between regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia.
"Everyone in the region will be watching the Iraqi elections to determine how the country's future leadership will affect the regional balance of power," said Marcin Al-Shammari, an Iraq-American research fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center.
The elections come amid a flurry of diplomatic activity in the region, fueled in part by US President Joe Biden's administration's gradual retreat from the Middle East and frozen relations with its traditional ally, Saudi Arabia.
Al-Kazemi sought to portray Iraq as a neutral mediator in the region's crises. In recent months, Baghdad has hosted several rounds of direct talks between regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran in an effort to ease tensions.
Under Iraqi laws, the winner of Sunday's vote is entitled to choose the country's next prime minister, but it is unlikely that any of the competing coalitions will be able to obtain a clear majority. This will require a lengthy process that includes behind-the-scenes negotiations to select a consensual prime minister and agree on a new coalition government.
Randa Selim, of the Washington-based Middle East Institute, said that Iraq's regional mediation role is Al-Kazemi's achievement, as a result of his success in balancing American and Iranian interests in Iraq. And “if he is not the next prime minister, then all these initiatives may not continue.” Ended 29/A 43