- Title: Iraqis show little enthusiasm for election as results expected within 24 hours
- Date: 10th October 2021
- Summary: BAGHDAD, IRAQ (OCTOBER 10, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF MACHINE PRINTING LIST OF VOTERS VARIOUS OF POLLING STATION WORKERS COUNTING BALLOTS
- Embargoed: 24th October 2021 19:20
- Keywords: Closing presser Elections Iraq Low turnout
- Location: BAGHDAD, ERBIL AND BASRA, IRAQ
- City: BAGHDAD, ERBIL AND BASRA, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Middle East,Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA003EYKTNIF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Iraq's parliamentary election on Sunday (October 10) drew one of the smallest turnouts for years, electoral officials indicated, with the low participation suggesting dwindling trust in political leaders and the democratic system brought in by the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
The established, Shi'ite Islamist-dominated ruling elite whose most powerful parties have armed wings is expected to sweep the vote, with the movement led by populist Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who opposes all foreign interference and whose main rivals are Iran-allied Shi'ite groups, seen emerging as parliament's biggest faction.
Such a result would not dramatically alter the balance of power in Iraq or the wider Middle East, say Iraqi officials, foreign diplomats and analysts, but for Iraqis it could mean that a former insurgency leader and conservative Islamist could increase his sway over the government.
Two electoral commission officials told Reuters that nationwide turnout of eligible voters was 19% by midday. Total turnout was 44.5% in the last election in 2018. Polling stations closed at 6 p.m. (1500 GMT)
Initial results are expected on Monday (October 11) but final turnout figures could be announced on Sunday night.
However, Iraqi elections are often followed by protracted talks over a president, a prime minister and a cabinet.
It appeared to be the lowest turnout in any election since 2003, according to electoral commission counts at polling stations that Reuters visited across the country.
In Baghdad's Sadr City, a polling station set up in a girls' school saw a slow but steady trickle of voters.
The election was held several months early under a new law designed to help independent candidates - a response to widespread anti-government protests two years ago.
At least 167 parties and more than 3,200 candidates are competing for parliament's 329 seats, according to the election commission.
(Production: Maher Nazeh, Mohammed Aty, Thaier al-Sudani, Kawa Omar, Charlotte Bruneau, Nadeen Ebrahim)
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