Iraqi Election Prediction
Kid Various predicts that the Iraqis will surprise us with a good helping of political maturity.
Former PM Iyad Allawi, who is not backed by any religous or sectarian social movement/party, will gain a large number of seats in the new Assembly, perhaps the second greatest behind the "Shia List", 555.
Prediction: around 75-80 seats.
That would put him in line to be able to form a coalition with the sunni parties (and possibly the Kurdish Allaince if they see which way the wind is blowing) to make him PM.
That would be an achievement in Iraq. Not so much because Allawi is a good guy or committed democrat, but because it would show a level of political development that most people in the U.S. do not give the Iraqis credit for.
For months, Kid Various has been hearing from his sources in Iraq that people are frustrated with the slow pace of development in the country and that they're not going to vote for the people they voted for last time. The Kid was skeptical. Maybe people weren't happy, but in that tribal/traditional society, in the end, most people would vote the way their sectarian leaders told them to vote.
But in the past few weeks, it's become evident that the shia parties (SCIRI and Dawa) are scared of Allawi, they've launched the first public negative campaign in Iraq, comparing Allawi with Saddam. His headquarters in several cities have been ransacked. He was attacked by a mob in Najaf (definitely not a spontaneous outburst, but orchestrated by the shia leaders in that city.) There has been active campaigning against Allawi in the pulpits of shia mosques. The muzzein from the minaret now calls for people to take advantage of the 555 lists GOTV effort, getting a ride to the polls - unless they're voting for Allawi.
Oddly, this is progress. Because 555 is thinking that a good portion of their natural electorate, who they've taken for granted, is going to defect to Allawi. They'd make their own choice - not follow their leaders' commands. And this bespeaks of a certain level of political maturity The Kid was not inclined to give the Iraqis.
He now remains hopeful. We shall see.