Viewing cable 09BASRAH1, BASRA PROVINCIAL ELECTION ROADMAP
PP RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHBC #0001/01 0151014
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 151014Z JAN 09
FM REO BASRAH
TO RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD PRIORITY 0400
INFO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0817
RUEHBC/REO BASRAH 0854
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BASRAH 000001
E.O. 12958: DECL: 1/15/2019
TAGS: PGOV KDEM IZ
SUBJECT: BASRA PROVINCIAL ELECTION ROADMAP
REF: A) BASRA 00081; B) BASRA 00070; C) BASRA 00067
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CLASSIFIED BY: Ramon Negron, Director, Regional Embassy Office
Basrah, Department of State.
REASON: 1.4 (b)
¶1. (C/REL MNFI) Summary: 81 political entities have registered
for placement on the Basra provincial ballot, including eight
coalitions and 19 independent candidates. Only eight
Provincial Council members are running for re-election and many
independent candidates have decided not to run, clearing the way
for established parties to do well, particularly the ISCI/Badr
coalition "Al Shahid Al Mihrab List and Independent Power."
Sunnis and Sadrists, who boycotted the last provincial
elections, are expected to participate fully. End summary.
¶2. (C/REL MNFI) According to Basra Governorate Electoral Office
(GEO) Director Hazim Joda, election day will pass smoothly and
large-scale fraud or violence is not possible. The 53 parties,
eight coalitions and 16 independents registered represent a
whopping 1,285 candidates. No Basra candidates were rejected by
the De-Ba'athification Commission review.
¶3. (C/REL MNFI) Of the 53 parties on the ballot, only the
following nine entities put forth the maximum 35 candidates:
(Note: ballot registration number follows political entity
-- Fadilah (154)
-- National Reform Trend (153)
-- Iraqi National Conference (274)
-- Independent Basra Gathering for Development and
-- Council of Elders of the South for Basra (291)
-- Iraqi People's Gathering (410)
-- Iraq Future Gathering (478)
-- Iraqi Constitutional Party (482)
-- Independent Free Current party (284)
¶4. (C/REL MNFI) Other large parties include:
-- Free Democratic Iraq Gathering (114); 32 candidates
-- Independents for the Sake of Iraq (367); 31 candidates
-- Islamic Allegiance Party (208); 29 candidates
-- South Region List (444); 28 candidates
-- Integrity and Construction (376); 28 candidates
-- Unity and Justice Gathering (269); 27 candidates (headed by
Sheikh Amr al-Faiz)
-- The Gathering of Good and National Reform (394); 26
-- The State Party (Wa'il Abd al-Latif); 24 candidates
-- The Intellectuals and Elites Movement (Dr. Tha'a Ameen); 24
¶5. (C/REL MNFI) 19 parties have fewer than ten candidates.
Three parties -- the Chaldean National Council, Reformists, and
Iraqi Popular Movement -- have a single candidate each. Another
party of interest is the Islamic Labor Organization (225), with
20 candidates, which Jodah indicated is backed by "Iranian
¶6. (SBU) Following are the eight registered coalitions, five of
which submitted the maximum 35 candidates:
-- National Trend in Basra (428): Composed of the Iraqi
Communist Party, Democratic National Party, and Independent Sons
-- Al Shahid Al Mihrab List and Independent Power (290):
Composed of the Iraqi Islamic Supreme Council (ISCI),
Independent Assembly for Iraq, Badr Organization, Hizbullah
Movement in Iraq, Sayid Shuhadaa Ain Islamic Movement.
-- List of Iraqi National Unity (105): Composed of Iraqi
National Unity Gathering and the Unified Iraq Council.
-- Rule of Law Coalition (302): Composed of Al Da'wa Islamic
Party, Independents, Al Da'wa Islamic Party - Iraq Organization,
Solidarity in Iraq, Iraqi Turkomen, Islamic Union.
-- Iraqi National List (498): Composed of Iraqi National Accord
and Loyalty to Iraq Gathering.
-- Basra Al-Khair (305): Composed of Hizbullah al Iraq, and
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Peace and Construction List (only 22 candidates).
-- National Iraqi Project Gathering (149): Composed of Iraqi
National Dialogue Front, Iraqi Freedom Movement, Iraqi National
Dialogue Council, Iraqi Arabic Gathering, National Democratic
Gathering, National Movement for Independence, Free Iraqi
Patriotic Gathering, Iraqi Dignity Front, National Independence
Movement, Will and Construction, People Movement for Iraq Unity,
National Future Gathering, Sons of Iraq, Independence and
Renaissance Movement, National Front Gathering, and Iraqi Front
for National Dialogue (only 18 candidates).
-- Iraq is My Country (310): Composed of Independent Cultural
Gathering and Iraqi National Democratic Alliance (only 17
¶7. (C/REL MNFI) Many of the independents who registered as
candidates in June and July failed to have their names put on
the ballot. REO contacts Said Abd Aaly al-Musawi and Sheikh
Amir al-Faiz) indicated that some of the following independent
candidates will be of interest: :
-- Dr. Adil Al Thamiry (833): Instructor at the University of
Basra Art School, described by REO contacts as "secular and
-- Kareen al-Haj Soudi al-Ghazii (503): Works for Southern Oil
and is said to have strong ties to Iraqi Shi'a political parties.
-- Ahmed al-Hajj Jawad al-Zaidawy (665): Described as
"definitely independent" and a religious moderate. His father
is tribal sheikh of the Beni Said Tribe and works for Sayyed
al-Shuhadah (SAS), according to Sheikh Mohammed al-Zaydawi.
-- Samir Al-Mayahi (640): Contacts say this candidate's father,
Abu Sameer Al-Mayahy, is a leader of a Badr assassination cell.
-- Sabeeh Habeeb Yasur Al-Hashimi (644): Contacts describe him
as an Islamist, who works for the Sadrists and is close to
Fadhila, active in the Businessmen Union.
¶8. (C/REL MNFI) Minority groups are more active this time
around, seeking representation of groups such as Sunni, women,
Christian, and black:
-- Sunnis. After boycotting the last provincial elections,
Sunni and Sadrists are expected to participate fully this time.
Parties with a Sunni profile include the Islamic Iraqi Party
(IIP), the National Dialogue Front (part of the National Iraqi
Project Gathering coalition), and the Iraqi National Unity
Gathering (part of the List of Iraqi National Unity coalition).
-- Women. Only one female candidate, Anaam al-Salihy (501), is
represented among the independents. Under Iraqi law, at least
one-quarter of all candidates must be women. Of the 1,285 total
candidates, 337 are women, or just over 26 percent.
-- Christians. According to Article 50, one council seat is
reserved for the Christian community. Two parties are competing
for this seat: the Chaldean National Council (657) under Sala
Aziz Yusef Maliki, and the United Democratic Party of the
Chaldeans (166) represented by Sa'ad Butrus al-Yas.
-- Basrawi Blacks. The Iraqi Freedom Movement is a new party
representing the interests of Iraqis of Sub-Saharan decent. For
financial reasons, it is running as part of National Dialogue
Front under the coalition National Iraqi Project Gathering. The
party is contributing 8 candidates to the ballot.
-- Sadrists. Represented by three parties: Independent Free
Current party (284), Integrity and Construction party (376), and
Sadr Al Iraq (485). The former two parties were endorsed on
January 11 by the Sadrist Trend in the Council of
Representatives; the latter is philosophically Sadrist but not
affiliated with the Office of the Martyr Sadr. These are large
parties with 35, 28, and 22 candidates respectively.
Few Incumbents Running
¶9. (C/REL MNFI) Few of the current Provincial Council members
are up for reelection. Those standing again include Economic
Committee Chairman Munadhil Abd Khangir, who is running with his
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new party, the Independent Intellectuals of Basra (339). Former
Governor Hasan al-Rasheed (Badr Organization) is also running
again with the Al Shahid Al Mihrab List and Independent Power
coalition. Notably absent is the Governor, who has told the REO
of his intention to seek a ministerial position in Baghdad. PC
Chairman Mohammed al-Obadi (Da'wa) is also not running, although
his son apparently is. The Chairman of the Reconstruction
Committee, Ghali Muter, is seen as a liability and has been
excluded by his own party, according to the UK Foreign
Commonwealth Office in Basra.
¶10. (C/REL MNFI) Comment: Last summer's trend toward
independent candidates seems to have subsided, but there is
still a dizzying list of choices for a largely illiterate
electorate. With few incumbents running, the Provincial Council
will have a new face after the election. The Al Shahid Al
Mihrab List and Independent Power coalition (290), which
includes ISCI and Badr, should do well. The Rule of Law
Coalition (302) should also do well, given that Maliki's Da'wa
party should benefit in Basra from the success of
Charge-of-the-Knights -- much more so than from his Tribal
Support Councils. Although the unpopular governor is not
running, his Fadhila party will probably still suffer from blame
for Basra's broken infrastructure. With three parties and 85
candidates, the Sadrists will likely gain seats. Also of
interest will be Sheikh Amir Fiaz's secular and moderate Unity
and Justice Gathering party, which has popular support.