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09BAGHDAD462 2009-02-22 15:46:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Baghdad
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This is a Baghdad PRT reporting cable

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1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Baghdad Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT)
forecasts the emergence in the next Provincial Council (PC) of a
strong "Nationalist" coalition, which includes PM Maliki's Da'wa
party, and a weaker, though significant, "Regionalist" coalition,
which includes the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) party.
Previously underrepresented Sadrists and Sunnis likely also will
find themselves with more places at the table. END SUMMARY.


A New Look for the Baghdad Provincial Council


2. (SBU) ISCI dominated the last PC, while the Da'wa presence was
much smaller. Preliminary analysis indicates a reversal of the PC's
political landscape. Given Da'wa's large plurality and control of
federal government offices in Baghdad, the next PC Chairman and
Governor likely will be prominent Da'wa members. (Note: This
assessment is driven purely by national party ideology or past
performance and ignores potential provincial negotiations. End

3. (SBU) Sadrists and Sunnis were represented on the previous PC in
token only (less than one percent of the 2005-elected PC). These
nationalist communities will have significant blocs in the new PC,
with the Sadrists having won nine percent and the two main Sunni
blocs, Tawafuq and Mutlak's Huwar, at nine percent and seven
percent, respectively. (The Kurdistani Alliance and Fadhila,
represented in the 2005-elected PC at four percent and 12 percent,
respectively, appear to have fallen below the minimum level in the
2009 PC.)


An Opportunity for Change and New Engagement


4. (SBU) Comment: Maliki's inner circle has leaked his willingness
to appoint qualified, non-Da'wa technocrats to high administrative
posts. If Maliki uses his victory to raise the level of competence
of local government, the PRT can expect increased requests for
governance training and mentoring for the new local officials.
Baghdad PRT and ePRTs also now have an opening to reach different
communities through their elected leaders (e.g. Sadr City, Salman
Pak, Mahmoudiya, Tarmiya). Further, an alliance between the
dominant Da'wa and the previously ostracized Sadrists could remove
an obstacle to improving GOI services in Sadr City and provide an
opportunity to encourage Provincial investment (and focus QRF and
CERP funding) on dissident neighborhoods.


Forecasted Coalition Compositions


5. (SBU) The Baghdad PC is comprised of 57 total seats.


--ISCI (3 seats)
--Tawafuq (7 seats)
--Allawi (5 seats)


--Dawa (28 seats)
--Sadrist (6 seats)
--Mutlak (7 seats)