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Iraqi election results shock political class

The preliminary results of the Iraqi elections are out, indicating a victory for the Sadrist movement and the PMU coalition.
Iraqi supporters of Sairun list celebrate after results of Iraq's parliamentary election were announced in Baghdad, Iraq May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani - RC168748D310

Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission announced the preliminary results of the May 12 parliamentary elections on May 13. The announcement of the final results has been delayed due to disputes between political parties.

Turnout was very low at only 44.52% — the lowest of all post-2003 elections. Participation was 79% in 2015, 62.4% in 2010 and 60% in 2014. The low numbers are likely a sign of public anger at the entire political class, as people have grown sick of its constant failure to provide them with adequate services and political and economic reform.

Despite some skirmishes in Sulaimaniyah and some objections in Kirkuk over the counting and sorting of ballots, the election saw very little violence.

The Gorran (Change) Movement strongly objected to alleged violations by the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. Meanwhile, the Al-Wataniya Coalition led by Iyad Allawi called for a redo of the vote while keeping the current government as caretaker government due to “the Iraqis’ large abstention from voting and the committed acts of violence and fraud.”

At a press conference, the commission shared the preliminary results for 10 out of Iraq's 18 provinces. Overall, the Sairoon Alliance made up of the Sadrist Movement and the Communist Party is leading, followed by the Fatah Alliance, which includes the pro-Iranian Popular Mobilization Units. Al-Nasr led by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi came in third.

The auditing process is ongoing in Erbil, Sulaimaniyah, Najaf, Dahuk, Salahuddin, Kirkuk, Maysan and Ninevah.

In Baghdad, 95% of the polling stations were reporting at the time of the announcement. The Sairoon Alliance was the front-runner with 413,638 votes, followed by the Fatah Alliance with 233,299 and the State of Law Coalition led by former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki with 211,243. Al-Wataniya Coalition won 204,686 votes and Al-Nasr Alliance got 194,676. The Iraqi Decision Alliance led by former parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi and supported by controversial businessman Khamis al-Khanjar won 94,308 votes, followed by the Al-Hekma Movement led by Ammar al-Hakim with 91,039 votes.

In most of the rest of the reporting provinces, 97% of polling stations had reported their tallies at the time of the preliminary announcement. In Wasit province, the Sairoon Alliance won 94,241 votes, followed by the Fatah Alliance with 86,480, Al-Nasr with 51,031, Al-Hekma Movement with 49,963, the State of Law Coalition with 41,551, Kafaat Lil Taghyeer with 35,741 and Al-Wataniya Coalition with 7,266.

In Al-Muthanna province, Sairoon Alliance ranked first with 62,968 votes, followed by Al-Fatah with 42,488, Al-Hekma with 33,358, Al-Nasr with 33,307 and the State of Law Coalition at 27,465.

In Dhi Qar province, the Sairoon Alliance came in first with 146,000 votes, followed by Al-Fatah with 110,000, Al-Nasr with 76,000, the State of Law Coalition with 75,000, Al-Hekma Movement with 52,000, the Irada Movement with 18,000 and Al-Wataniya with 12,000.

In the province of Karbala, with 97% of stations reporting, Al-Fatah got 70,777 votes, followed by the Sairoon Alliance with 69,975, Al-Nasr with 48,349, the State of Law Coalition with 34,479, Al-Hekma Movement with 19,010 and Al-Wataniya with 6,852.

In the province of Diwaniyah, Al-Fatah received 82,310 votes, followed by the Sairoon Alliance with 68,011, Al-Nasr with 55,427, Al-Hekma Movement with 39,728, the State of Law Coalition with 38,861, the Civil Coalition with 6,109 and Al-Wataniya with 4,472.

In Babil province, Al-Fatah won first place with 122,728 votes, followed by 114,179 for the Sairoon Alliance, 83,528 for Al-Nasr List, 71,635 for Al-Hekma Movement, 56,649 for the State of Law Coalition, Kafaat Lil Taghyeer with 31,844, the Irada Movement with 21,749 and Al-Wataniya with 15,900 .

In Basra province, Al-Fatah came in first with 143,739 votes, followed by the Sairoon Alliance with 113,106, Al-Nasr with 103,209, the State of Law Coalition with 89,501, Al-Hekma Movement with 54,626, the Men of Iraq with 24,613, the Irada Movement with 22,664, Al-Wataniya with 22,051, Building and Reform with 17,050 and the Democratic Civil Alliance with 11,489.

In Diyala, where 95% of stations had reported, the Iraqi Decision Alliance came in first with 96,911 votes, followed by the Fatah Alliance with 92,226, Al-Wataniyah with 78,959, the Sairoon Alliance with 48,050 and Al-Nasr with 34,877.

In Anbar province, where 92% stations had completed the count, the Anbar Hawiyatouna List came first with 125,473 votes, followed by Al-Wataniya with 56,751, the Iraqi Decision with 50,223, Abiroon with 46,739, Al-Nasr with 40,207 and Sairoon with 7,206.

As things stand, there are two possible scenarios for the formation of the next Cabinet. The first involves an alliance including Sairoon, Al-Nasr and the Kurdish opposition consisting of the Gorran Movement, the Justice and Democracy Movement and one or both of the Sunni lists (the Iraqi Decision and Al-Wataniya).

The second scenario would entail an alliance consisting of the State of Law Coalition, Al-Fatah, the Kurdish Democratic Party and some Sunni parties close to Maliki.

The first seems more likely, as the State of Law Coalition and Al-Fatah are not welcome on the Sadrist street and among the Sunnis in general. Still, one cannot ignore the role of regional and international parties in influencing the formation of the next Cabinet, especially Iran and the United States, each of which will seek to tip the balance.

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