Given the favorite for the legislative elections in Iraq, the current of the influential Shiite leader Moqtada Al-Sadr claimed, Monday, October 11 evening, the first force in the new Parliament.
“The people must celebrate this victory of the biggest bloc (…) without causing any inconvenience”, welcomed, during a televised address, Mr. Sadr, former militia leader who fought the American troops, and anti-Iran rhetoric.
In the evening, in Tahrir Square in central Baghdad, where horns, ululations and celebratory firecrackers mingled, a few hundred Sadrists gathered, waving Iraqi flags, flags of the movement and portraits of their leader.
“We have been waiting for this victory for a long time”, rejoices Nasser. “Our hope is Moqtada Al-Sadr, no one else”, he said. “He is capable of reforming Iraq, of driving corruption out of Iraq”.
On condition of anonymity, an official of the Sadrist current assured Agence France-Presse (AFP) that the party had obtained a “Approximate number of 73 seats”, after counting the number of successful candidates. An official of the Iraqi electoral commission, who requested anonymity, told AFP that the Sadrist current was indeed ” on your mind “, according to preliminary results.
No clear majority
The legislative elections, the fifth since 2003 and the overthrow of dictator Saddam Hussein in the wake of the American invasion of Iraq, were marked by a record abstention. Analysts believe, however, that beyond the distribution of seats in a Parliament that promises to be fragmented, the absence of a clear majority will force the different factions to negotiate alliances.
Throughout the day, the Election Commission released preliminary results in each of Iraq’s eighteen provinces, but it was impossible to know the exact number of seats each party won in the unicameral parliament (329 seats), the commission not revealing the affiliations of the winners.
If a victory for the Sadrists is confirmed, it means that they have succeeded in increasing their number in Parliament, going from 54 deputies at present to more than 70. This also means that they will keep their status of first formation, allowing them to weigh heavily. all the more so during the composition of the future government and the appointment of the prime minister.
Another trend is the breakthrough of the Alliance for the Rule of Law of former Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki. “We got 37 seats in Parliament”, assured AFP a person in charge of this movement.
“Return to a political consensus”
The outgoing Parliament’s second force, the Hachd Al-Chaabi coalition, which entered Parliament in 2018 while surfing the victory against the jihadist group Islamic State (IS), seems, on the other hand, to suffer a sharp decline, according to observers. This political camp, allied with Iran, remains an essential piece of the political spectrum.
Political scientist Ihsan Al-Shamari predicts “Political friction” and “Struggles for the post of prime minister and the distribution of ministries”, mais in fine, “All the indicators confirm a return to a political consensus”.
In theory, some 25 million Iraqis were called to the polls. The electoral commission announced a turnout ” preliminary “ 41% among the more than 22 million registered voters. In 2018, participation stood at 44.52%. At the time, opponents but also experts had estimated these inflated official figures
A prime minister not officially a candidate for his succession
Sunday’s elections were originally scheduled for 2022. Promised by Prime Minister Moustafa Al-Kazimi, they were brought forward to calm the protest born in October 2019 to denounce the sprawling corruption, a stalled economy, and failing public services in a country yet rich in oil.
Suppressed in the blood – at least 600 dead and 30,000 wounded – the movement ran out of steam. Dozens of activists were victims of kidnappings and assassinations. The protesters point to the armed factions loyal to Iran, with an essential role in Iraq and grouped within Hachd Al-Chaabi.
If the political scene remains polarized on the same sensitive issues – the presence of American troops or the influence of the big Iranian neighbor – the parties will start long negotiations to agree on a new prime minister. This post has traditionally been held by a Shiite Muslim.
Prime Minister Moustafa Al-Kazimi is officially not a candidate for his succession but he continues to put forward his policy: he announced on Monday the arrest of Sami Jasim Al-Jaburi, a senior ISIS official. wanted by the United States.