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Record-low voter turnout for Iraq election

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Record-low voter turnout for Iraq election

Turnout in Iraq’s election fell to a record low amid widespread frustration with the country’s political elite.

Initial results in the election, the second held in Iraq since the country declared a military victory over Islamic State almost four years ago, are expected on Monday.

Early Newspaper

Forty-two per cent of eligible voters cast their ballots, Iraq’s electoral commission said on Sunday night, as cited by local media.

The figure marks the lowest turnout in the five elections since long-time ruler Saddam Hussein was toppled from power in 2003, with a previous low of 44.5 per cent recorded in 2018.

The parliamentary elections were brought forward by several months in response to protests calling for reform.

Oil-rich Iraq has been struggling with an economic and political crisis for years.

Many Iraqis have little faith in politics and do not expect the election to change the existing balance of power.

Supporters of the protest movement that erupted in October 2019 called for an election boycott.

Since the movement began, demonstrators have been calling for the dissolution of parliament and an overhaul of the political system which has been in place since the 2003 US-led invasion.

Election observers also attributed the low turnout to a large deployment of security forces on election day.

More than 250,000 security personnel were sent to the streets, according to official figures.

The security effort appeared to have put people off voting, according to the head of the EU election observers, German EU lawmaker Viola von Cramon.

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Record-low voter turnout for Iraq election