Iraq’s Supreme Electoral Commission announced on Monday that turnout in Sunday’s legislative elections was 41%, a figure that reflects the low turnout during voting day and which was lower than the 44.5% registered in previous elections in 2018.
According to the commission’s initial count, just over 9 million Iraqis went to the polls on Sunday, out of a total of 25 million eligible to vote.
The provinces that registered the lowest turnout were the two electoral districts of Baghdad (31 and 34%, respectively), while the governorate of Dohuk (north) was the most crowded and 54% of its voters went to the polls.
These figures contrast with the participation of 69% registered during the special vote, in which last Friday members of the security forces, the displaced and some prisoners with sentences not exceeding five years voted.
Low turnout was one of the main concerns of the Iraqi authorities and parties, which urged citizens to go to the polls to give “credibility” to these elections, called in response to the wave of protests that shook Iraq in October 2019 and overthrew the previous government.
Boycott of the elections with allegations of pressure
Many participants in the protests, which caused more than 600 deaths, decided to boycott the elections after receiving pressure and threats from some of the powerful traditional Shiite parties, which also have armed arms and militias.
In total, more than 3,000 candidates and almost 170 parties appeared in these elections, but Iraqi citizens consulted by Efe who decided not to vote alleged that it was due to “the presence of the same faces for 15 years.”
The main novelty of the voting day was the introduction of biometric electoral cards, which had some technical failures, and the presence of around 700 international observers from the European Union and the United Nations, who on Sunday deployed their largest supervision mission in some elections.
The Supreme Electoral Commission has promised to announce the results of these elections this Monday.
According to exit polls conducted by local media, the formation of the influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr, a very popular figure among the poorest classes in the country, will repeat the victory of the 2018 elections, in which he won a total of 54 seats out of 329 available in the sectarian Iraqi Parliament.