BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq’s delicate power-sharing government formed by Shi‘ite Muslim, Sunni Muslim and Kurdish blocs has been crippled by infighting since it was constituted more than a year and a half ago after inconclusive elections in 2010.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s Shi‘ite National Alliance coalition holds the most parliamentary seats, but now faces a possible no-confidence vote. Splits and factional infighting within other blocs mean Maliki may still carry enough clout to fend that off.
Iraq’s young democracy is fractious and alliances shift constantly, with some Shi‘ite blocs now calling for Maliki to leave office.
Here are details of Iraq’s main leaders, their supporters and their complex political relationships and alliances in the 325-seat legislature.
SHI‘ITE NATIONAL ALLIANCE
This is the largest Shi‘ite parliamentary bloc, headed by Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the former prime minister, and consists of two main groups - Maliki’s State of Law and Al-Ahrar, led by radical Shi‘ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
• STATE OF LAW is the biggest Shi‘ite coalition and one of the few parliamentary blocs that has not faced splits. It is headed by Maliki and his Dawa Party, along with the Dawa Party-Iraq Organization, the Independent faction led by Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain al-Shahristani, and some other smaller groups. SEATS: 88
• AL-AHRAR is the political wing of the anti American cleric Sadr, the second Shi‘ite bloc and the only one that has remained fully united. Sadrists were instrumental in securing Maliki a second term after Sadr put aside their differences. Recently the cleric has joined calls for a vote of no confidence. Sadrists may be using the call to pressure Maliki for more concessions and posturing before provincial elections this year. SEATS: 39
• ISLAMIC SUPREME COUNCIL of IRAQ, or ISCI, is also opposed to Maliki, but they are splintered over whether the vote of no confidence is viable. SEATS: 16
• BADR ORGANIZATION is the former armed wing of ISCI, split with their former political colleagues over support for Maliki to secure his second term. Now they back him. SEATS: 4
• AL-FADHILA PARTY is one of the Islamic Shi‘ite parties, and publicly oppose a vote of no confidence. SEATS: 5
The Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc, headed by the former secular prime minister Iyad Allawi, was the biggest in parliament after the election in which it won 91 seats until the Islamist Al Waasat or IPP joined them with 10 seats. Iraqiya has since splintered and other alliances have formed, making their actual coalition difficult to calculate. A group of 26 dissidents says it will soon break away in opposition to the vote of no confidence to form a new block, leaving Iraqiya with 83. Here are the major groups and their positions:
• IRAQIYON FACTION was the biggest Iraqiya faction, headed by Osama al-Nujaifi, the parliament speaker, and recently joined up with a faction led by Finance Minister Rafie al-Esawi. They are supporting calls for a vote against Maliki. SEATS: 23
• AL-HIL OR SOLUTION FACTION is headed by Jamal al-Karboli, a prominent liberal Sunni politician, who usually disagrees with other Iraqiya leaders and his three ministers did not join other Iraqiya ministers in a recent boycott of the cabinet. Karboli has good relations with Maliki and some Sunni rivals see him as a potential Maliki ally. SEATS: 15
• AL-HIWAR FACTION is headed by Saleh al-Mutlaq, the Sunni deputy prime minister, who has clashed with Maliki though he has recently made conciliatory remarks about the prime minister after once calling him a dictator. SEATS: 13
• TAJDEED FACTION is run by fugitive vice president Tareq al-Hashemi but the faction split between those who back Hashemi and those who believe he should have stayed to face the charges and can no longer lead the group. SEATS: 7
• AL-WIFAQ FACTION is led by Iyad Allawi, the former Shi‘ite secular prime minister who wants a vote of no confidence. Allawi has been criticized sharply by other Iraqiya members. SEATS: 15
* Al-WASSAT FACTION is led by Ayad al-Samarai, the former speaker and the head of Iraqi Islamic Party, a Sunni political group. They support the vote of no confidence. SEATS: 10
• WHITE IRAQIYA FACTION used to be a part of mainstream Iraqiya, but these mostly Shi‘ite lawmakers split off from the main group last year over what they saw as sectarian tendencies. Presenting themselves as independents, they have supported Maliki in many situations. SEATS: 11
• KURDISTAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY is headed by Masoud Barzani, president of the autonomous Kurdistan region. He has been one of the most vocal critics of Maliki and supporter of a vote of no confidence. SEATS: 29
• PATRIOTIC UNION OF KURDISTAN is led by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. It has been more cautious as the elderly statesman seeks to broker talks to end the crisis and avoid a vote of no confidence. SEATS: 14
• GORAN is an emerging opposition group in Kurdistan, and it has publicly announced that it will not back a vote of no confidence against Maliki. SEATS: 8.
The remaining 8 seats are small groups, other minority factions like Christians and individual lawmakers who maintain some allegiance to one of the large blocs but are often floating votes in favor or against the government.
Editing by Mark Heinrich