Flag of Iraq
  1. Iraq Main Page
  2. Iraq Gains Independence
  3. Rise of the Baath Party
  4. Saddam Hussein's Ascendancy Brings Series of Wars
  5. After 9/11, the U.S. Launches War in Iraq
  6. No Evidence of Weapons in Iraq
  7. Insurgency Gathers Steam
  8. Iraqi Leadership Struggles in Effort to Form a Government
  9. U.S. Strategy Under Fire
  10. Bush Orders a Surge of U.S. Troops to Iraq
  11. Iraqi Parliament Gets Down to Business
  12. Political Veterans Fare Well in 2010 Parliamentary Elections
  13. War in Iraq Is Officially Over but Political Unrest and Violence Continue as ISIS Emerges
  14. 2014 Parliamentary Elections Unexpectedly Peaceful Despite Rise of ISIS
  15. New Prime Minister Forms a Power-Sharing Government
  16. Mixed Bag in the Fight Against ISIS
  17. Blackwater Guards Convicted
  18. Prime Minister Calls for Overhaul of Government
Political Veterans Fare Well in 2010 Parliamentary Elections

Ali Hassan al-Majid, who was known as "Chemical Ali" and was a cousin and close associate of Hussein, was executed in January 2010 for his role in the 1988 poison-gas attack on the village of Halabja, where 5,000 Kurds were killed. He was also a member of the group of leaders responsible for the deaths of approximately 180,000 Kurds in the Iraq-Iran War.

The electoral process was dealt another blow in January 2010 when a parliamentary panel recommended that 500 candidates (out of a total of 6,500) be banned from participating in the election because of their alleged former association with Saddam Hussein's Baath party. The move outraged many Iraqi Sunnis, who threatened to boycott the elections, and intensified sectarian tension. A panel of seven judges, however, overturned the ban in February but said the candidates who run in the elections may still be investigated later for their ties to the Baath party. The de-Baathification movement was effectively ended in May, when a group of politicians quietly agreed they would not disqualify nine winning candidates with Baathist ties.

Sectarian violence increased in the days leading up to the March 7 election, but the tension was less deadly than widely feared. On election day itself, dozens of bombs exploded in Baghdad. Most were non-lethal, but two killed at least 38 people. Iraq's election commission reported that 62% of Iraqis voted in the election, a lower turnout than in the last parliamentary election, held in 2005. Turnout was around 50% in Baghdad, where the violence was most prominent.

Final results, released in late March, gave the Iraqi National Movement, led by former prime minister Ayad Allawi, 91 seats in Parliament out of 325. Allawi gained traction in the weeks leading up to the election. A secular, nationalist Shiite, Allawi received support from Sunni Muslims, and he fared particularly well in Sunni-dominated central and western Iraq. The State of Law alliance, headed by Prime Minister Maliki came in a close second with 89 seats. Both fell far short of the 163 seats needed to form a majority in Parliament. A Shia religious movement, including followers of radical cleric Moktada al-Sadr, won 70. The two main Kurdish parties together received 43 seats.

Maliki challenged the results, and a recount of votes in the Baghdad region confirmed Allawi's slim lead. In October 2010, Maliki formed an alliance with the Shiite bloc led by al-Sadr, his former rival, which put him close to a majority of seats. Negotiations continued, and American officials strongly urged the Sunnis, many of whom backed Allawi, to remain in the negotiations to be assured a role in the government. An agreement to form a unity government was finally reached in November that allowed Maliki to retain his position as prime minister and the Kurds held on to the presidency. Allawi's coalition, Iraqiya, was promised the role of speaker of the Parliament and leadership of a new committee charged with overseeing security. Parliament approved the government in late December.

Next: War in Iraq Is Officially Over but Political Unrest and Violence Continue as ISIS Emerges
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