BAGHDAD – (AP) – Iraq recorded a low turnout in parliamentary elections over the weekend, the independent body overseeing the elections said on Monday. Preliminary results show widespread dissatisfaction and mistrust with voting.
The election came months ahead of schedule as a concession to a youth-led popular uprising against corruption and mismanagement. But the vote was marred by widespread apathy and a boycott of many of the same young activists who took to the streets of Baghdad and the southern provinces of Iraq in late 2019, calling for change and new elections. .
The Independent High Electoral Commission said on Monday that preliminary results show the turnout in Sunday’s elections was 41%. This is a drop from 44% in the 2018 election, which was an all-time low.
Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in late 2019 and early 2020, and were greeted by security forces firing live ammunition and tear gas. More than 600 people have been killed and thousands injured in just a few months.
Although authorities caved in and called for snap elections, the death toll and brutal crackdown – along with a spate of targeted assassinations – prompted many protesters to later call for a boycott of the vote.
More definitive results were expected later Monday, but negotiations to choose a prime minister to form a government are expected to last weeks, if not months.
The election was the sixth since the fall of Saddam Hussein after the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. Many were skeptical that the independent candidates of the protest movement had a chance against parties and political parties. entrenched politicians, many of whom were backed by powerful armed militias.
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