Maliki Gains Ground

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki has frequently been criticized as too weak, but preliminary results of this weekend’s election in Iraq show his secular Dawa Party making strong gains throughout the country. Although final results are not expected for at least two weeks, The Guardian reports that Dawa candidates swept the nine Shia provinces and are doing very well in the all-important Baghdad and Basra provinces. The New York Times writes, “The relative success of the secular parties may be a sign that a significant number of Iraqis are disillusioned with the religious parties that have been in power but have done little to deliver needed services.”