Iraq’s most popular Shia politician, Ayad Allawi, on Wednesday secured a decisive victory in parliamentary elections, results from three counties showed.
Allawi finished third in the 2010 election with just under 13% of the vote. The former prime minister and interim president, who is now 74, has established himself as a strong centrist force in the election and has succeeded in winning endorsements from most major Sunni and secular factions. He also has backing from many other candidates.
After withdrawing from political life, the cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said he would back Allawi to form a government, although his impact will depend on what role his bloc will play in the forming of the next government.
Ayad Allawi’s key positions
In January 2009, President Jalal Talabani appointed Allawi to serve as the prime minister, offering him the job in exchange for his support for a security operation called Battle for Baghdad. He appointed Maliki as deputy prime minister and, with the support of political blocs to implement his ideas, Allawi was elected as prime minister in 2010, helping topple al-Maliki.
In 2011, Allawi’s US-backed government collapsed when the US announced it would cease its military presence in Iraq.
In 2012, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki dismissed Allawi from the premiership. Allawi also threatened to return to politics, and formed a cross-sectarian, far-left alliance with communists, traditionalists and democrats. In a standoff with parliament, they agreed to work with Maliki’s State of Law (SoL) bloc on ministerial posts.