Iraq’s Election And Its Implications
After years of prolonged ethnic conflicts, the Iraqi citizens are expected to cast their ballot on Sunday. Now, Iraqis will be able to vote for specific candidates instead of broad party lists. It is an attempt to increase accountability and decrease fraud and voter apathy. Moreover, Iraq will be introducing, for the first time, biometric cards to prevent double voting. Earlier this year, a UN Security Council resolution authorized a large team to monitor the election as well.
For many, the election will have domestic as well as regional implications. Baghdad is currently presenting itself as a mediator in the region. This was evident in Iraq’s host of Iran- Saudi Arabia talks. Domestically, Baghdad is grappling with the crumbling state’s institutions and endemic corruption. With that being said, the election provides a feasible opportunity for Baghdad to solve its domestic issues and boost its international reputation as well.
“Iraq’s elections will be watched by all in the region to determine how the country’s future leadership will sway the regional balance of power,” said Marsin Alshamary an Iraqi-American research fellow with the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center.
Others, however, believe that the election won’t bring any radical change. In 2019, thousands of Iraqi protesters took to the streets of Iraq, demanding an end to the rampant corruption that has been siphoning their country’s wealth for years. And now, they are demanding a boycott of the election.
Though Sunday’s election seems a good step towards achieving stability, it would be too naive to expect any radical change. New parties or independent candidates don’t have the same funds or organizing power as the bigger, well-established parties that are backed by Tehran. The election’s outcome will be largely shaped by powerful players, including the U.S. and Iran.