Middle East

Iraqi voters react to new coalition

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki (April 2009)
Image caption Nouri Maliki will remain as prime minister

Iraq's main political parties have agreed to form a government, breaking eight months of deadlock since elections in March.

Nouri Maliki, a Shia, will remain as prime minister. The main Sunni faction gets the Speaker's post and the Kurds will get the presidency.

Iraqis from around the country have been reacting to the agreement.

Afaf Adnan, translator, Baghdad

I am frustrated at the outcome. We thought that Iyad Allawi would win but Nouri Maliki has. This was a shock to most Iraqis.

I have spoken to the people at work about what has happened and most of them are frustrated just like me.

I want the coalition to do something good for my country. We want them to bring a good future and I want them to do what they promise - no more empty words.

Since 2003 they have promised change, but just last week they bombed a church and lots of Christians died. This is not change.

I graduated this year and I have been working for two months as a translator. I was the top of my class so it was relatively easy for me to find work but for other graduates it is tough and there is little work.

This is one of the main problems in Iraq that the coalition must address but it is not the only problem.

The road blocks and the traffic jams are a nightmare. I finished work today at 1600 and got home at 1800. You can be stopped and left waiting at a roadblock for up to three hours. They don't even check the cars. They just make you stop and stay there. I ask why and nobody answers. We don't have the right to say anything.

We live in hell but we are still hoping for a better future.

Dr Anees Akram, Baghdad

We are all happy that the formation of the new government has ended the power vacuum.

The first thing I've noticed today is that there are no explosions. Recently there have been a number of shootings and explosions caused by small missiles shot from my previously peaceful area. One of the recent attacks on the Christian areas was only a mile from my house.

Yesterday the police who are usually on patrol were changed for the army, which implies that the authorities are clamping down. Also my house was searched and others in my street.

I'm a moderate, secular Shia, so I don't agree with all the policies of the religious parties. I didn't vote this time round, because I didn't feel there was a certain party I could back.

I'd be gloomy about the formation of the government and filling the ministers' posts if the same mistake is made as in 2006 when different parties controlled different ministries and wouldn't co-operate with each other.

I want a working coalition rather than a majority government. The government should work together for the sake of its people.

Barzan Ibrahim, translator, Erbil

It's nearly eight months since the election and we are very happy that a deal has been made. I originally voted for the Kurdistan Alliance so this deal is very good news.

This is very important for the security of Iraq. Many people every day have had to make sacrifices because there has been no government. The level of security has been very low - which you can see with the recent attacks on Christians.

With this new coalition government, civilians will be better protected and they can work on improving the economy. We believe that the coalition government can solve all these problems.

Everyone is thanking God today that the leaders came to the table to talk about the new government. The majority of Kurds are extremely happy with the agreement. We hope that Iraqis will respect our position in government.

Mohammed (not his real name), journalist, Baghdad

I am from a Sunni background, but I regard myself as a liberal Iraqi. I don't think this coalition represents a true spread of communities in Iraq.

I think the majority of the country is Arab, with a roughly 50/50 split of Sunnis and Shias.

The two sects of Arabs don't get along, which has effectively made the Kurds kingmakers. The Kurds have used their position as intermediaries to leverage a larger share of power within the government than they should have, if the government was to represent a balance of people.

In the future, we really need a government who will guarantee fairness and treat the people as Iraqis, irrespective of their background. However, it's unrealistic to think that people's backgrounds will ever be irrelevant. Therefore all components of society need to be represented, but in a system where each component has real authority.

When any of the social groups in Iraq are marginalised, that is when you get violence and terrorism.

The parliament is elected by the people, so they should be the ones making the laws and government should be abiding by it. But within the current system, the prime minister has far too much power.

I think a lot of people who voted this time round will have hoped for a change, and will be disappointed to see the same people in charge.

Hassan (not his real name), lawyer, Mosul

Any kind of agreement was welcome to me because of the current political situation.

It's a big mess because technically there's been no government for the last eight months. Iraqis need to see a government in place that will provide services and security - these have to be a top priority now.

My impression is that most people here were supporting Iraqiya. Iyad Allawi was number one here. The people in Mosul were hoping that Alliya would take power and build the new government.

However, after all these months, we were just beginning to hope for any kind of government. So this outcome is OK - at least we can feel as if something is happening.

I have mixed feelings about the posts that have been given out. I don't think democracy works in Iraq - people's votes weren't taken into account this time round. This is the main reason I didn't vote - I felt very disillusioned.