The past 13 years have proven that the premiership is the prime leadership post in Iraq although the constitution is based on the rotation of power in the executive, legislative and judicial branches.
A senior judge, who asked to remain anonymous, told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the prime minister is the top ruler in Iraq and has a decisive influence on all branches, including the judiciary.”
As a result, the Iraqi political blocs, especially Shi’ites, have been competing to reach the post, which traditionally (and not constitutionally) is reserved to a Shi’ite figure from the political Islam movement.
Therefore, most local observers believe that the biggest challenge facing Shi’ite factions – not affiliated with Dawa – is to seize the post of the prime minister from the party, which will retain the position for a fifth term if it wins the parliamentary elections in May.
Leader of Hikma or National Wisdom Movement Ammar al-Hakim has announced that his party will play a major role in selecting the prime minister, implying that it is eyeing the post.
Some leaders from the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) have also hinted their desire to reach the premiership.
Dawa’s rule began in 2005 when Ibrahim al-Jaafari became prime minister for one year.
Then, the party’s current leader, Nuri al-Maliki, won for two consecutive terms (2006 – 2014). In the current round that started in 2014 and ends this year, the post went to incumbent PM Haider al-Abadi.
Dean of the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Nahrain Amer Hassan Fayyad says it is difficult to predict whether Dawa could win a fifth term.
“The alliances that will be formed following the announcement of (election) results are set to determine who the next prime minister will be,” Fayyad told Asharq Al-Awsat.