Friday, January 28

Iraq votes in early elections marked by apathy and continuity

An election poster in Mosul.

An election poster in Mosul.

Iraq faces this Sunday elections early parliamentarians that will serve to change it so that everything remains exactly the same. The Iraqi Government called the elections six months ago to satisfy the protesters who have been demanding an Iraq since October 2019 fairer, less sectarian and more democratic. The problem is that these elections are not expected to meet the demands of discontent.

Quite the opposite. The parties that will obtain representation and the opportunity to share the government will be, in all probability, the same as always, the same as there are now. No significant changes in sight. “For disappointment of those seeking reform, the elections will more than likely result in a new consensus government, led by ruling elite always. This model will translate into the collective distribution of spoils of the state, and space will be denied to any real opposition, “explains the Iraqi political scientist, Yasir Kuoti.

“This will end up damaging the new government’s ability to implement reforms, which, in the end, will send millions of disappointed youth and citizens disenchanted to protest in the streets ”, continues the political analyst. Precisely for this reason, no one in the arab country he has too much hope in the elections this Sunday. The country’s youth – especially in the on, where the protests were most massive— abstain largely from going to polling stations.

Boycott and fragmentation

In fact, the Communist Party of Iraq and some minor political parties that were born out of the 2019 protests have decided boycott elections. Others have put forward independent candidates who will be unable to change an outcome that is already marked in advance.

The Iraqi Parliament consists of 329 seats and no formation is expected to reach a clear majority. Quite the opposite. Estimates suggest that the two possibly winning formations – the Sadr Movement, anti-government, Shiite, pro-Iranian and with support among the working classes; and the State of the Law, a also pro-Iranian coalition led by the former prime minister Nuri al Maliki – they will reap, at most, sixty deputies each.

Both will have to dispute the courtship of the other Parliament formations, ranging from parties directly linked to the pro-Iranian militias until Sunni and Kurdish formations or the aforementioned independent ones, arising from the protests. The fragmentation in Iraq is such that in the last elections of 2018 it took five months to form a government after the elections. This Executive lasted only a year and a half in power.

Gray future

“Many Iraqis have a gray vision of the future of his country, despite the fact that we are now in a period of relative calm after the military victory over the Islamic State (NO) in 2017, ”writes the Crisis Group expert, Lahib Higel. “Corruption and poor governance make it impossible for the population to have access to so basic services As the water or electricity. In summer, no one who depended on the state electricity company had more than a few few hours of light up to date. There are many who have completely lost fe in which the system can change ”, he continues.

And it won’t. Iraq currently lives under the increasingly omnipresent power of the Shiite militias that helped defeat IS and have now become a shadow parallel state, collecting their own taxes, extorting and extorting money. killing rivals at will. The rest of the parties fear them. Hence, these elections try to preserve the current situation, according to experts.

“The most likely outcome will be an agreement between the major factions to form a consensus government and ratify the estatus quo, as it happened in previous elections. This supposedly inclusive model carries little risk and is tempting for those who believe that it can bring some stability, ”says Kuoti. “And as has already happened in the past, it grants Benefits and governmental roles while nobody takes charge of the failures ”.

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