The preliminary results of the legislative elections in Iraq give victory to the bloc of the Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr, which holds the most seats in Parliament and leads in several provinces of the country, including Baghdad, the capital.
Music and dancing set the scene for the massive gathering of the followers of the Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, the emblematic meeting point when it comes to demonstrations.
Iraqi flags and large photographs with the face of the Shiite leader were carried by dozens of people who celebrated the first results of the parliamentary elections.
Al Sadr’s list of candidates tops the preliminary results, above the list of the Fatah Alliance, led by Hadi al-Ameri and made up of parties affiliated with the Popular Mobilization Forces, a group of mostly pro-Shiite militias. from Iran.
However, with 94% of the ballot boxes counted, none of the political blocs appears to have won a majority in parliament. This will force them to negotiate with other communities to appoint a prime minister.
On the other hand, participation in these early elections was just 41% of the electoral roll, below 44% in the 2018 elections, which was a record low. The vote was encouraged by the new electoral law approved in 2020 to reduce the monopoly of traditional formations and give independents the opportunity. But, not even with that 50% of the vote was reached.
More seats than in the 2018 elections
Although they did not win the majority of the seats, Moqtada al Sadr remains in power and that is why his followers celebrated this October 11 at night in the streets of Baghdad.
Al Sadr’s list is, so far, the first force in the new parliament, elected during early parliamentary elections that fought to attract voters weary of the Iraqi system and held ahead of schedule, in response to massive protests in 2019. that overthrew the government. Prime Minister Moustafa al-Kazimi promised to advance them to quell the convulsive social movement.
The Shiite, who is a very popular figure among Iraq’s poorer Shiite classes, increased his movement’s seats in parliament from 329, from 54 in 2018 to more than 70.
On condition of anonymity, an official of the current of al Sadr assured the AFP agency that the party had obtained an “approximate number of 73 seats”, after counting the number of victorious candidates.
For their part, the Kurdish parties won 61 seats, including 32 for the Kurdistan Democratic Party, which dominates the government of the Kurdish autonomous region of Iraq, and 15 for the Kurdistan Patriotic Union party.
The Taqaddum coalition of Sunni Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi won 38 seats and Maliki’s State Of Law coalition ranked third with 37 seats.
Muqtada al Sadr, against foreign interference
Since 2003, the year the United States occupied Iraq, Shiite groups have dominated the political scene and government formation. “Muqtada represents perfection, he is our father, the right hand of Iraq who fought against the United States and the leader of the poor,” said Safaa, an Iraqi who participated in the celebration in Tahrir Square on Monday.
Shortly after the first announcement of the results, al Sadr broadcast a speech live on state television demanding victory and promising a nationalist government free from foreign interference. “We welcome all embassies that do not interfere in the internal affairs of Iraq,” he said.
The Shiite leader, known for having led the militia that fought against the US occupation that overthrew the dictator Saddam Hussein, opposes any kind of interference in his country. He has not even hesitated to criticize Iran for being involved in Iraqi politics.
With Reuters, EFE and AFP