Explaining Iraqs election results

From: Chatham House
Published: Mon Oct 25 2021


Although the election results appear to show a shift in political support, there is a clear disparity between the popular vote and the allocation of power.

Several big stories came out of Iraq's sixth election since the 2003 US-led invasion. The first is low voter turnout which officially at 36 per cent of eligible voters is the lowest recorded in the country's post-2003 electoral history. With many Iraqis disillusioned with a political system which entrenches a corrupt political elite at their expense, this was expected, reflecting a trajectory of fewer Iraqis voting in each election.

More surprising is the relative success of Muqtada al-Sadr's movement, which increased its seat tally from 54 in 2018 to 73 according to preliminary results, while its main rival from the previous election Fateh - which represents the Popular Mobilization Forces - saw a decrease from 48 to only 16.

This result suggests Sadrists have increased in popularity while Fateh's support has declined, but the vote total reveals a different story. While the Sadrists outperformed their rival in seat count, the two sides received a similar number of votes. In fact, according to preliminary numbers, Fateh and allies received more votes than the Sadrists but secured less seats, with Fateh receiving an estimated 670,000 votes while the Sadrists received 650,000.

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Company: Chatham House

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