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Day 34: Still no government in Iraq. The problem remains the same as it was the day after the election results were announced; the United Iraqi Alliance doesn’t have a 2/3rds majority by itself, the Kurds aren’t willing to form a coalition unless they get Kirkuk, and Allawi’s faction isn’t big enough to form a majority with the Kurds.

Allawi has been pressuring the UIA in an effort to pull away enough votes to get a majority. Sistani, who backs the UIA, is lobbying against that and will probably succeed in holding the line. The Kurds are claiming their issue is with the possibility of an Islamic state; this is a problem for them but Kirkuk is really the key bargaining point.

The problem is that once a Prime Minister is selected, he or she has the ability to run the country without the coalition if he has a simple 50% majority. Thus, there’s no good way for the UIA to guarantee anything to the Kurds if the Kurds don’t trust them. The UIA has a 50% majority; a Prime Minister from the UIA could rule without Kurdish help once the Kurds has voted him in.

In any case, the Parliament is meeting in 10 days, with or without a coalition. Should be interesting to see what happens.

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