No election since 2003 has had turnout below 60 per cent.
However, given Iraq’s patchy record – since the downfall of Saddam Hussein and numerous electoral polls that followed – reconciliation across Iraq’s fragmented and animosity filled landscape is as hard as ever. Iraq’s many political factions mean a government may only be formed after drawn out negotiations.
“I call on Iraqis to respect the results of the elections”, he said. This time it seems there will be no difference. He also has said he is open to US training of Iraq’s military and regularly meets with USA diplomats in Baghdad.
The election came as the country deals with the disenfranchisement of the country’s Sunni minority.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s list appeared to be leading in Iraq’s parliamentary election, followed by influential Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s alliance, an Election Commission source and a security official said on Sunday.
Though Abadi is a Shi’ite, he performed poorly in Iraq’s Shi’ite heartland but made history by becoming the only incumbent to ever win Sunni-majority Mosul.
Political power in Iraq is traditionally divided along sectarian lines among the offices of prime minister, president and parliament speaker.
Increasingly, however, it is Sadr’s relationship with Tehran that has come to define his political identity.
Abadi’s coalition struggled to unite the nation’s Shiite population, at first receiving the support of the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF/PMU) militias, but later losing it in January.
His success marks a remarkable comeback for Sadr, who for years had been sidelined by Iranian-backed rivals.
According to a ministry statement, Iraqi F-16s struck a “logistics headquarters” affiliated with the terrorist group south of Al-Hasakah’s town of Al-Dashisha.
Whatever the outcome, there looks set to be lengthy horse-trading between the main political forces before any new premier and a coalition government can be installed. The results unexpectedly showed former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who was touted as a serious challenger to Abadi, lagging behind.
Over two million people remain internally displaced across the country and IS – while weakened – still has the capability to launch deadly attacks.
The ranking of these blocs can still change with results yet to be announced from eight provinces, including Nineveh, which has the second-largest number of seats after Baghdad. The group overran a third of Iraq in 2014.
The Homeland coalition is trying to woo the traditional KDP and PUK support base.
Like his father, who saw Sistani as an “Iranian” interloper, Sadr is an Iraqi Arab nationalist.
In summary, the Iraqi elections were tense, contentious and fragmented as ever.