Amidst security alert and border closure, voting begins in the early Iraqi legislative elections


Amidst security alert and border closure, voting begins in the early Iraqi legislative elections


Voting is taking place today to select 329 deputies, according to a new electoral law that increases the number of districts and provides for unilateral voting, which is supposed to give impetus to independents and local candidates. Preliminary results are expected to be issued within 24 hours of the closing date of the polls.

Voters in Iraq began casting their votes this morning in the early legislative elections to choose their representative in the new parliament. The voting process will continue until six in the evening today. This is in light of strict security measures, most notably the closure of the country's air and land ports. The President of Iraq, Barham Salih, called on the voters to participate massively, saying that it is an opportunity to build a capable state and correct mistakes.

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi cast his vote in the first minutes of the voting process, in his constituency in the Karkh side of the capital, Baghdad, and urged Iraqis, in media statements, to quickly participate in voting.

Al-Kazemi calls for the desired change
Al-Kazemi said that he personally supervises the plan to secure polling stations across the country, calling on his citizens to participate in voting to bring about the required change in the country.

He added, "I called for early elections, and we set the sixth of June (June) 2021, and some asked for a postponement until 2022, but I refused, and then we set the tenth of October (October) 2021."

He stressed that he personally supervises the security plan for the elections, stressing that the security situation is stable, and he called on voters to go out to participate widely in the elections.

The number of Iraqis entitled to vote across the country is about 25 million, including more than 800,000 who voted in the special poll the day before yesterday, Friday, in which members of the security and military institutions, the displaced, and prisoners participated.

The number of candidates in the Iraqi elections is 3240, including 950 women, while the number of parliament seats is 329. Polling stations open at seven in the morning local time (4 am GMT), and close at 6 pm (3 pm GMT), in case Voting was not extended.

Security procedures
The Supreme Security Committee for Elections announced that decisions will be taken on the general polling day, including the closure of the country's air and land outlets until six in the morning tomorrow, Monday. The committee also decided to close the entrances to the governorates and prevent the movement of people and gatherings, and the security authorities said that more than a quarter of a million people would secure the polling stations.

While the polling stations opened their doors to voters at 7 pm local time, it is expected that they will close at 6 pm, if the timing is not extended.

The Iraqi president said yesterday, Saturday, that the parliamentary elections are an opportunity to build a capable state, stressing the call of Iraqis to participate massively in the elections, and appealed to them that this entitlement be a national moment to correct mistakes, face major challenges, strike corruption, achieve justice in granting opportunities to citizens, work on reviewing the constitution and strengthening The stability and sovereignty of the country, considering that the desired reform is achieved by appealing to the people.

He pointed out that the elections are supervised by a new independent commission composed of Iraqi judges, and that new laws and regulations have been put in place in an effort to ensure the integrity of the elections.

800 international observers are participating in observing the electoral process, along with thousands of local observers, and observers expect the participation rate to be low, despite the fact that Mustafa Al-Kazemi's government presents the elections as a "historic opportunity" for "comprehensive reform."

2019 protests
These early elections, which were scheduled for 2022, were called, with the aim of calming the anger of the street after the popular uprising that erupted in the fall of 2019 against the ruling class, corruption, the decline of public services and economic deterioration. This election is 6 months ahead of schedule.

Voting is taking place today to select 329 deputies, according to a new electoral law that increases the number of districts and provides for unilateral voting, which is supposed to give impetus to independents and local candidates. Preliminary results are expected to be released within 24 hours of the polls closing time, while it takes 10 days for the official results to be announced, according to the Electoral Commission.

The Sadrist bloc - led by Muqtada al-Sadr - is the most prominent Shiite bloc, and it competes for votes in the center and south of the country with the "Al-Fateh Alliance" led by Hadi al-Amiri, which includes political arms of armed factions close to Iran, and the "state forces coalition" led by both Ammar al-Hakim, former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, and the State of Law Coalition led by former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

As for the densely populated Sunni areas in the north and west of the country, the lists of Taqaddam, led by the outgoing Speaker of Parliament, Muhammad al-Halbousi, and Azm, led by businessman and politician Khamis al-Khanjar, stand out. As for the Kurdistan region of Iraq, there is the Kurdistan Alliance consisting of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Movement for Change, in addition to the Kurdistan Democratic Party bloc.
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