It's official: Iraq can now boast that it has gone longer than any country in the world between holding a parliamentary election and forming a government. At 208 days, it has now bumped the Netherlands, which went 207 days in 1977, to No. 2 on the list. The lag is leading many Iraqis to question why they risked their lives to vote on March 7, notes the Washington Post, and has the US worried that the security gains Iraq fought so hard for could begin to erode. The most optimistic estimate for how long the process will take? One more month. Or longer.
"There is no difference with the Iraqi case, except that the Netherlands had strong, functioning institutions and a caretaker government that continued to govern," said a Dutch national and Iraq expert. "Iraq has very weak institutions and a caretaker government that can do very little. This makes for a potentially highly unstable and precarious situation." Accusations of fraud have been followed by tense negotiations and still-fruitless backroom deal-making between former prime minister Ayad Allawi, whose Iraqiya bloc won 91 seats, and Shiite incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose State of Law bloc won 89.