Electoral commission says turnout in Iraq election reached 41%

A combined picture of electoral commission’s employees counting the votes (L) and a woman who casts her ballot in Iraq’s general election

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The Iraqi electoral commission announced early on Monday that the initial turnout in the parliamentary election was 41 percent across the country.

Iraq held early parliamentary election on Sunday, with fears voter turnout would drop below 44.5 percent figures registered in 2018.

The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) announced initial results of 94% of vote counts at 7:32 a.m. on Sunday, saying 9,077,779 voters out of 22,116,368 cast ballots during the election.

The initial voter turnout was 46% in Erbil, 37% in Sulaimani, 54% in Duhok, and 44% in Kirkuk, according to the electoral commission.

Initial turnout for the other Iraqi provinces was: 40% in Basra, 43% in Maysan, 42% in al-Qadisiyah, 42% in Dhi Qar, 41% in Najaf, 44% in Muthanna, 31% in Baghdad’s Rusafa, 34% in Baghdad’s Karkh, 44% in Karbala, 46% in Babil, 46% in Diyala, 43% in Anbar, 44% in Wasit, 48% in Saladin and 42% in Nineveh.

The electoral commission is expected to announced the election’s results in the coming hours.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said in a tweet that the government had successfully fulfilled its promise and duty in securing fair elections.

Kadhimi is not running for election but the negotiations after the vote could yet see him get a second term. Kadhimi, who is viewed as Western-friendly, has no party to back him.

The chief Iraq election observer of the European Union, Viola von Cramon, said the relatively low turnout was significant.

“This is a clear, of course a political signal and one can only hope that it will be heard by the politicians and by the political elite of Iraq,” she told reporters, according to Reuters.

The election was held several months early under a new law designed to help independent candidates – a response to mass anti-government protests two years ago.

As many as 3,226 candidates including nearly 950 women are competing to win 329 seats of the Iraqi Council of Representatives.

One quarter of seats are reserved for female candidates, and nine for minorities including Christians and Yazidis.

Nearly 900 U.N. and EU observers and around 46,800 internal spectators monitored the election process.

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