Early results show record low turnout in Iraq's election

October 12, 2021 World
Vote counting is under way in Iraq on Monday, a day after a record low turnout in a parliamentary election that reflects what many Iraqis said was a loss of faith in the country's democratic process and political class.

Turnout in Iraq's election fell amid widespread frustration with the country's political elite with 41 percent of eligible voters casting their ballots, Iraq's electoral commission said on Monday, in what was the fifth election since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled longtime ruler Saddam Hussein. A previous low of 44.5 percent was recorded in 2018. The parliamentary elections were brought forward by several months in response to protests calling for reform.

Al Jazeera's Mahmoud Abdelwahed said the low turnout was attributed to the boycott campaigns that had been launched by the protest movement of October 2019, which rallied against corruption, mismanagement and lack of opportunity.

Since the movement began, demonstrators have been calling for the dissolution of parliament and an overhaul of the political system that has been in place since the 2003 US-led invasion. "They strongly believe these elections will not bring the change they wanted or hoped for because it is the same politicians running for parliament," Abdelwahed said, speaking from the capital Baghdad.

Election observers also attributed the low turnout to a large deployment of security forces on election day. More than 250,000 security personnel were sent to the streets, according to official figures. Viola von Cramon, who heads a team of EU observers, lamented the turnout as partial data emerged. "This is a clear political signal, and one can only hope that it will be heard by the politicians and by the political elite of Iraq," she said.
Source: Dailyasianage - World News

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