Published on : 11/10/2021 – 21:59
Favorite of the legislative elections in Iraq, the current of the influential Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr claimed on Monday as the first force in Parliament, with more than 70 seats out of the 329 in the chamber. Preliminary results seem to confirm this trend.
The party of the Iraqi Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr claimed, Monday evening October 11, the first force within the new Parliament elected during the early legislative elections which struggled to attract voters weary of a system they consider incapable of improve their living conditions.
“The people must celebrate this victory of the largest bloc (…) without causing inconvenience”, welcomed during a televised speech Moqtada al-Sadr, former militia leader who fought the American troops and at the anti-Iran rhetoric.
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About 73 seats
On condition of anonymity, an official of his party assured AFP that the Sadrist current had obtained an “approximate number of 73 seats”, after counting the number of successful candidates under their banner.
An official of the Iraqi electoral commission, who also requested anonymity, told AFP that the Sadrist current was indeed “in the lead”, according to preliminary results.
The legislative elections, the fifth since 2003 and the overthrow of dictator Saddam Hussein in the wake of the American invasion of Iraq, were marked by a record abstention.
Analysts believe, however, that beyond the distribution of seats in a Parliament that promises to be fragmented, the absence of a clear majority will force the different factions to negotiate alliances.
Throughout the day, the electoral commission released preliminary results in each of Iraq’s 18 provinces, but it was impossible to know the exact number of seats each party won in the unicameral parliament (329 seats), the commission did not not revealing the affiliations of the winners.
If the trend towards a victory for the Sadrists is confirmed, it means that they have managed to considerably increase their number in Parliament, from 54 deputies currently to more than 70.
This also means that they will retain their status of first formation, allowing them to weigh even more during the composition of the future government and the appointment of the Prime Minister.
Breakthrough of the Rule of Law Alliance
Another trend is the breakthrough of the Rule of Law Alliance of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. “We obtained 37 seats in Parliament,” an official of this movement assured AFP.
The second force in the outgoing Parliament, the Hachd al-Chaabi coalition, which entered Parliament in 2018 surfing the victory against the jihadist group Islamic State (IS), seems to be in decline, according to observers. But this political camp, allied with Iran, remains a key player on the political spectrum.
The political scientist Ihsan al-Shamari predicts “political friction” and “struggles for the post of Prime Minister and the distribution of ministries”, but in fine, “all the indicators confirm a return to a political consensus”.
In theory, some 25 million Iraqis were called to the polls. The electoral commission announced a “preliminary” turnout of 41% among the more than 22 million registered voters.
In 2018, participation stood at 44.52%. At the time, opponents but also experts had estimated these inflated official figures.
Sunday’s elections were initially scheduled for 2022. Promised by Prime Minister Moustafa al-Kazimi, they were brought forward to calm the protest born in October 2019, to denounce the sprawling corruption, a stalled economy, and failing public services in a country yet rich in oil.
Suppressed in blood – at least 600 dead and 30,000 wounded – the movement ran out of steam. Dozens of activists were victims of kidnappings and assassinations. The protesters point to the armed factions loyal to Iran, with an essential role in Iraq and grouped within Hachd al-Chaabi.
“People are not convinced that the elections will lead to change and improvement in the performance of government or public services,” political scientist Sajad Jiyad told AFP.
After the low turnout, “it is not only the legitimacy of the next prime minister that will be called into question. But also the legitimacy of the government, the state and the entire system.”
If the political scene remains polarized on the same sensitive issues, whether it is the presence of American troops or the influence of the big Iranian neighbor, the parties will begin long negotiations to agree on a new prime minister. This post has traditionally been held by a Shiite Muslim.
Prime Minister Moustafa al-Kazimi is officially not a candidate for his succession but he continues to put forward his policy: he announced on Monday the arrest of Sami Jasim al-Jaburi, a senior ISIS official. wanted by the United States.