Sadrists claim bagging most seats in Iraq polls

Published October 12, 2021
A poster of Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in the Sadr City district of Baghdad, Iraq, June 21. — Reuters/File
A poster of Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in the Sadr City district of Baghdad, Iraq, June 21. — Reuters/File

BAGHDAD: The political movement of Iraq’s influential Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr on Monday said it had retained the biggest share of seats in the country’s parliament, after elections with a record low voter turnout.

“The approximate number is 73 seats,” out of the 329, a Sadrist official said.

Sadrists held 54 seats, also the largest bloc, in the former parliament, and were considered the favourites in Sunday’s election which occurred against widespread disillusionment about a political elite seen as inept and corrupt.

An electoral commission official confirmed preliminary results from Sunday’s poll showed the Sadrists “in the lead”.

Although experts had expected the large blocs to preserve their dominance in the fragmented parliament, the lack of a clear majority will force them to negotiate alliances.

The election was moved forward from 2022 as a concession to an anti-government protest movement that has demanded deep reforms in the oil-rich yet poverty-stricken country. In the end voter participation hit a new low in Iraq’s fifth election since the 2003 US-led invasion that ousted dictator Saddam Hussein with the promise of bringing freedom and democracy.

Published in Dawn, October 12th, 2021

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