Within 24 hours, one lurches from hope to this:

As voting was under way to re-elect President Jalal al-Talibani, members of the Iraqiya bloc, a Sunni-backed coalition that won the most seats in the March 7 election, tried and failed to force a vote on a series of demands. Among them were commitments to release detainees and to reverse the disqualification of three of its candidates on the grounds that they were loyalists of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party. At that point, just as officials with the Obama administration were expressing their delight in a news briefing that Mr. Allawi will be part of a new Iraqi governmenta result the United States had sought for five years the Iraqiya bloc walked out.

That included Osama al-Nujaifi, who had just been elected the new speaker of Parliament, and Ayad Allawi, who had been Mr. Maliki’s chief rival for prime minister. “There’s still no guarantee from the other side that what they promised will be implemented,” said Jaber al-Jaberi, a top member in Iraqiya, before the start of the session...

After the walkout, parts of Iraqiya returned to the session, suggesting possible divisions within the bloc. With the diminished numbers, however, there were not enough votes to give Mr. Talabani the required two-thirds majority on the first round. A second round of voting, requiring only a simple majority, was to follow.

“From the start I knew this agreement wasn’t sustainable,” said Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish lawmaker. In an arrangement that attempts to wrap every coalition into a power-sharing government, Mr. Othman said, “you expect problems.”

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.