Allawi, a secular Shiite, who was installed as transitional prime minister by the US in 2003, heads a broader-based coalition that is also seen as less sectarian.
The major Kurdish parties are expected to play a key role in building or breaking any coalition.
“None of [the major parties] will have enough votes to form the government so definitely the Kurds can play a very important role,” Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish regional government, told the Monitor in a recent interview. “For us in the Kurdistan regions, we are not going to decide until after the elections on how to be part of the alliances because there are many important issues we should negotiate.”
He said that included the commitment of any potential coalition parties to solving the issue of Kirkuk, the disputed oil-rich city which Kurds claim as their historic capital.
Any alliances appear possible, but one that relies on the Kurds to cement Allawi’s list could potentially be problematic. That list includes the Mosul-based party al-Hadbaa, which came to power in the provincial elections last year on what was widely seen as an anti-Kurdish platform.