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Turnout low as Iraqis vote in parliamentarian election

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Iraqis on Sunday voted in the country’s parliamentary election on Sunday, however turnout was low amid a volatile political situation and mounting cynicism among citizens. 

“I call on Iraq people: there’s still time. Go out and vote for Iraq and vote for your future,” Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi told members of the media upon voting in the country’s fifth parliamentary election since 2003, Reuters reported.

The parliamentary election was held slightly earlier than usual following legislation, passed in response to protests against the government, aimed at encouraging independent candidates. 

However, officials who spoke to Reuters noted that voter turnout was low. By midday Sunday, roughly 19 percent of eligible Iraqis eligible had voted, two officials from the electoral commission told the news outlet. Some Iraqis said they would not be voting at all.

“Why won’t I vote? Because I have no faith in people. Those we elected, what have they done?,” one resident told Reuters. “Look at the garbage, the filth … The previous government’s projects, where are they?”

Comparatively, in the last legislative election in 2018, around 44 percent of people voted. 

The poor voter turnout comes as Iraq faces and economic and governance crisis that has left many in the country without healthcare, employment and education opportunities due to mismanagement and corruption, according to Reuters.

In 2019, protests erupted around the country, eliciting a heavy-handed response from security forces and ultimately leaving over 600 people die, the Associated Press noted. Some leaders of those protests called on Iraqis to boycott Sunday’s election. 

Still, some 3,200 candidates from more than 160 political parties were vying for the parliament’s 329 seats.

Al-Kadhimi could potentially be reelected for a second term as prime minister depending on the results of the parliamentary election and the subsequent negotiations, Reuters reported.  

Tags Iraq Iraqi parliamentary election
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