Iraqis will vote today in elections for its Council of Representatives (COR)— the national unicameral legislature. Protests over the last
Iraqis will vote today in elections for its Council of Representatives (COR)— the national unicameral legislature.
Protests over the last few years, which ousted Prime Minister Abdel Abdul Mahdi, called for a complete overhaul of Iraq’s political system. In response, Iraq enacted a law dividing the country’s 18 electoral districts into 83 districts, hoping to create accurate demographic representation in government. In theory, with the new districts, entrenched political parties will have a harder time claiming the coveted majority in the COR—which allows them to nominate a Prime Minister.
Despite electoral changes, Iraqis seem disenchanted with democracy and low voter turnout will greatly affect today’s vote. On the line is not only Iraq’s democratic system but also Iraq’s international affairs. Several Shia political parties in today’s vote are friendly towards Iran and opposed to a US military presence in Iraq. Iraq has already called for a complete US troop withdrawal by year-end, but if these Iran-friendly parties win big today, expect the US to withdraw sooner than expected. Short-term there is also a high risk of political instability. If low voter turnout today fails to change the country’s power politics significantly, violent protests against the results are highly likely.
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