Protests Against Iraq Elections Flare While Awaiting Official Results
11/08/2021 Iraq (International Christian Concern) – While Iraq awaits the independent investigation and official results of the October 10 elections, protestors grew aggravated and clashed with riot police in Baghdad on Friday. Unofficial results from the elections report low voter turnout, a major loss for pro-Iran groups, and a win for Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
Iraq’s electoral commission, the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), received some 1,300 complaints and appeals following the elections. The majority were lodged by Shia groups that suffered losses and alleged fraud. However, IHEC dismissed most of the appeals based on a lack of evidence. On October 27, IHEC began a manual recount for 234 electoral stations based on 18 appeals that were supported by evidence. The locations were across Salah al-Din, Basra, and Baghdad governorates. No date has been set for when the official results will be released.
Although early elections came as a result of the 2019 demonstrations, many Iraqis decided to not come out and vote. The most recent election also took place under a new system that eliminated out-of-country voting.
Pro-Iranian group supporters, such as the Fatah Alliance, clashed with the police in the high-security Green Zone. Reportedly some 300 demonstrators marched and threw rocks at the security forces. According to AP, 27 civilians and 98 security personnel were injured. Reports of one or two protestors being killed have also surfaced but are unverified. The demonstrations appear to be in protest over election results and pressuring al-Sadr to ensure that Iran-aligned factions are part of the next Cabinet.
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