Preliminary results show that former prime minister Nuri Maliki looks set to win the second largest victory among Shia parties.
Since the 2003 US-led invasion overthrew the Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein and pushed the Shiite majority and Kurds to power, Iraq’s Shiite groups have dominated the government and government organizations.
Sunday’s elections were held several months in advance in response to the massive protests in 2019 that overthrew the government and expressed general anger towards political leaders. Many Iraqis claimed that these leaders were at the expense of national interests. Get rich.
But the record low voter turnout shows that votes that are advertised as seizing control from the ruling elite will not help overthrow the sectarian religious parties that have been in power since 2003.
According to preliminary results verified by local government officials in several provinces and the capital, Baghdad, Sadr has won more than 70 seats. If confirmed, he may have considerable influence in forming the government.
However, Sadr’s group is only one of several organizations that must enter into negotiations to form a coalition that can control the parliament and form a government. This period may take several weeks or more.
Sadr gave a live speech on national television, claiming victory and promising to establish a nationalist government free from foreign interference.
“We welcome all embassies that do not interfere in the internal affairs of Iraq,” he said, adding that the celebrations will be held on the streets “without weapons.”
Since Sadr won first place in the 2018 general election, his coalition has won 54 seats, which has strengthened his power over the Iraqi state.
Since the American invasion, this unpredictable populist clergy has been a dominant figure in Iraqi politics, and is often a king maker.
He opposes any foreign interference in Iraq, whether it is the United States (he fought insurgency after 2003) or neighboring Iran (he criticized Iran for its close involvement in Iraqi politics).
However, according to officials close to Sadr, Sadr is often in Iran and called for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. Washington maintains a force of approximately 2,500 troops in Iraq and continues to fight the Islamic State.
Preliminary results also showed that the candidates who stood out from the 2019 protests in favor of reform won multiple seats in the 329-member parliament.
According to preliminary results and local officials, Iran-backed political parties are linked to militias, and these parties are accused of killing some of the nearly 600 people killed in the protests. They won fewer seats than they did in 2018. Elections.
The results showed that the Kurdish party won 61 seats, of which the Kurdish Democratic Party, which controls the government of the Kurdish Autonomous Region of Iraq, won 32 seats, and its rival, the Kurdistan Patriotic Union Party, won 15 seats.
According to the Iraqi National News Agency, the Taqaddum coalition of Sunni Speaker of the Parliament Muhammad Halbusi won 38 seats, making it the second largest seat in the parliament. Maliki’s Legal League ranked third with 37 points.
New law, the same big party
Iraq’s elections since 2003 have been followed by protracted negotiations, which may last for several months, and help distribute government positions among the major political parties.
The results on Monday are not expected to significantly change the balance of power in Iraq or the wider region.
Sunday’s vote was held under a new law introduced by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, aimed at relaxing the control of established political parties and paving the way for independent candidates who support reform. Level road. The voting area has shrunk, and the practice of allocating seats to the lists of candidates sponsored by political parties has been abandoned.
But many Iraqis do not believe that the system can be fundamentally changed, and choose not to vote.
The official turnout rate was only 41%, indicating that the vote failed to arouse the imagination of the public, especially the young Iraqis who demonstrated in large crowds two years ago.
“I didn’t vote. It’s not worth it,” 20-year-old Hussein Sabah told Reuters in Basra, the southern port of Iraq. “Nothing can benefit me or others. I see young people with degrees but no jobs. Before the election, (politicians) come to them. After the election, who knows?”
In 2019, after security forces and gunmen killed hundreds of protesters in suppressing demonstrations, Kadimi’s predecessor, Adel Abdul Mahdi, resigned. The new prime minister called a vote several months in advance to show that the government is responding to requests for more accountability.
In practice, facts have proved that even under the new rules, powerful parties can most effectively mobilize supporters and candidates.
Since the fall of Saddam, Iraq has held five parliamentary elections. The rampant sectarian violence that broke out during the American occupation has waned, and the ISIS fighters who occupied one third of the country in 2014 were defeated in 2017.
But many Iraqis said that their lives need to be improved. The infrastructure is in disrepair for a long time, and medical care, education and electricity are inadequate.