Iraqi Election Results Released

The results of the historic Iraqi elections have been released, and as expected, the Shi’ite list endorsed by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has won. However, the Shi’ite list failed to win an outright majority, which means that they will need to work together with either the Kurds or the secular Iraqi List of current interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

The Shi’ites have indicated a willingness to work with other groups to ensure a strong future for Iraq. The Shi’ites of Iraq descend from a different theological tradition than do the Shi’ites of Iran, and have indicated that they reject the sort of theocratic rule that exists there. They also know that if Iraq fails, the Wahhabists and the Ba’athists will come out on top, and the Shi’ites have every reason to fear such an outcome. The Shi’ites best interests lie in a strong and stable federal Iraq, which is why their embrace of democracy is based on pragmatic factors as well as their belief in democracy.

The most important development that has occurred in Iraq over the last few weeks is a sense of civic nationalism — nationalism will help hold Iraq’s ethnic and religious conflicts in check and promote the idea of a strong and healthy society. If the Shi’a hold true to their word, the future of Iraq will be a strong one.

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