2018 Iraqi parliamentary election
Parliamentary elections were held in Iraq on 12 May 2018.[4] The elections decided the 329 members of the Council of Representatives, the country's unicameral legislature, who in turn will elect the Iraqi President and Prime Minister.[5] The Iraqi parliament ordered a manual recount of the results on 6 June 2018.[6] On 10 June 2018, a storage site in Baghdad housing roughly half of the ballots from the May parliamentary election caught fire.[7]
2018 Iraqi parliamentary election
← 201412 May 20182021 →
All 329 seats in the Council of Representatives
165 seats needed for a majority
Turnout44.52% ( 17.48 pp)[1]
LeaderMuqtada al-SadrHadi Al-AmiriHaider al-Abadi
AllianceSaairunFatah AllianceVictory Alliance
Last election34
Seats won544842
Seat change20
(from the Al-Ahrar Bloc)
Popular vote1,493,5421,366,7891,133,912
LeaderNechirvan BarzaniNouri al-MalikiAyad Allawi
PartyKurdistan Democratic PartyParties
Dawa (Maliki)
AllianceNoneState of Law CoalitionAl-Wataniya
Last election259221
Seats won252521
Seat change67
Popular vote873,645725,108623,594
LeaderAmmar al-HakimKosrat Rasul AliOsama al-Nujaifi
Defectors from ISCI
Most of Al-Muwatin
Patriotic Union of KurdistanParties
AllianceNational Wisdom MovementNoneUniters for Reform
Last election292123
Seats won191814
Seat change10
(from Al-Muwatin-ISCI)
Popular vote547,223616,232368,633

Colours denote which list won the most votes in every governorate
Prime Minister before election
Haider al-Abadi
Victory Alliance
Prime Minister-designate
In October 2018, Adil Abdul-Mahdi was selected as Prime Minister five months after the elections.
This election would be the last held under the Webster/Sainte-Laguë method of proportional representation, as electoral reforms passed in 2019 amid the 2019–2020 Iraqi protests created a district-based system, and sought to have representatives represent more local voices (as opposed to the entire governorate they were previously elected from), reduce deadlocks resulting from inconclusive coalition talks, as well as stop infighting amongst list members and a myriad of small lists from siphoning off votes and failing to meet the electoral threshold. It would also prevent parties from running on unified lists, which had previously led some to easily sweep all the seats in a particular governorate.
The elections took place six months after a non-binding independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan, in which 93% voted in favour of independence. In retaliation, the Iraqi government led by Haider al-Abadi closed Erbil International Airport, seized control of all border crossings between Kurdistan and neighbouring countries and, with the help of the Hashd al-Shaabi militias, militarily seized control of disputed territories, including the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. Nonetheless, Iraqi politicians called for dialogue with the Iraqi Kurdistan government and force them to formally annul the results.[8]
The elections were originally scheduled for September 2017, but were delayed by six months due to the civil war with the Islamic State which ended in December 2017 with the recapture of their remaining territories. The largest Sunni Arab majority coalition, the Muttahidoon (Uniters for Reform), called for a further six month's delay to allow displaced voters to return to their homes.[9] A Sunni Arab MP described holding the elections at this time as a "military coup against the political process".[10] However, the Supreme Court ruled that delaying the elections would be unconstitutional.[11]
Electoral system
Members of the Council of Representatives are elected through the open list form of party-list proportional representation, using the 18 governorates of Iraq as the constituencies. The counting system uses the modified Sainte-Laguë method with a divisor of 1.7[12] which is considered as a disadvantage to smaller parties.[13] Eight seats remain reserved for minority groups at the national level: five for Assyrians and one each for Mandaeans, Yazidis, and Shabaks.[14][15] However, the Council of Representatives voted on 11 February 2018, to add an extra seat for minorities, in the Wasit Governorate for Feyli Kurds, making the total number of parliamentarians equal to 329.[citation needed]
In January, the Supreme Court ruled that the representation for Yazidis should be increased, although it is unclear whether this change will be implemented in time for these elections.[16]
International voting
Holding Iraqi parliamentary elections in Tehran
The Independent High Electoral Commission announced that Iraqis living outside of Iraq can vote in any of the 130 voting stations that were set up in 21 countries. 18 of the stations were in the United States, 15 in Sweden, 15 in Turkey, 14 in Iran, 13 in Jordan, 8 in the United Kingdom, 8 in Australia, 7 in Germany, 7 in Canada, 5 in Egypt, 4 in Denmark, 2 in Lebanon, and one each in France, Syria, Finland, Belgium, Austria, Norway, and New Zealand.[17]
Election day
Iraqi President Fuad Masum shows his inked finger after casting a ballot at the central polling station in the Green Zone of Baghdad, capital of Iraq, May 12, 2018.
A curfew was declared by prime minister Al-Abadi from midnight Friday to 7 pm Saturday in all governorates except Baghdad, where the curfew started at noon Friday.[18] A 24-hour closure of all airports and other border crossing was also implemented. The Iraqi airspace was open later on the day as well as the lifting of the curfew.[19] Election day in Iraq was extremely successful from a security aspect, as no attacks were registered anywhere in the country.[20]
Seat allocation
Seats are allocated to governorates as follows:
Dhi Qar195
Supporters of Sadr's alliance in Liberation Square, Baghdad celebrating after a successful election campaign
A total of 6,904 candidates participated in the elections, representing parties:[22][23]
GovernorateNumber of Candidates
Dhi Qar279
As of 26 December 2017, a total of 204 parties had registered to contest the elections.[24] The deadline for registering coalitions was 11 January 2018.[25] A total of 27 coalitions were registered by the deadline, grouping 143 political parties, with registered parties not part of a coalition also free to contest separately.[26]
The ruling State of Law Coalition, which won the last election in 2014 with 92 seats, contested the election with two separate coalitions. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi entered the election as head of a coalition called "Victory" (a reference to the victory over Daesh); his predecessor, Vice President Nouri al-Maliki, headed the State of Law list.[27][28] Members of the Dawa Party, which they both come from, were free to support either list.[29]
Leading members of the Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces), mainly Shiite Arab militias who fought alongside the Iraqi army to defeat Daesh from 2014 to 2017, formed an alliance to contest the election. The Fatah Alliance included the Badr Organisation, Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, Kata'ib Hezbollah and Kata'ib al-Imam Ali—all key components of the Hashd. The Badr Organisation, headed by Hadi Al-Amiri, which had 22 seats, was previously part of the ruling State of Law Coalition from which it announced its withdrawal in December 2017.[30][31] The Fatah Alliance agreed to run jointly with al-Abadi's Nasr al-Iraq (Victory of Iraq) list, but the agreement fell apart after only 24 hours, reportedly over Abadi's conditions.[32][33]
Ammar al-Hakim, the leader of the Citizen Alliance, the third largest bloc in parliament, announced in July 2017 that he was leaving the veteran Shiite Islamist party, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq -– which he had led since the death of his father, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim –- and forming a new "non-Islamic national movement" called the National Wisdom Movement (al-Hikma). All but five of the 29 MPs from the Citizens Alliance joined Al-Hikma.[34] The remaining members of the Citizen Alliance joined the Fatah Alliance.[35]
Muqtada al-Sadr announced a joint list with the Iraqi Communist Party, called the Alliance towards Reforms. This built on previous collaboration with the Communists since 2016, when they held joint protests in Baghdad against corruption and sectarianism in government.[25][36]
Kurdistan Region
Within the Kurdish parties, there had been significant changes since the previous election with the death of both Jalal Talabani, the long-time leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the second largest party, and the opposition leader Nawshirwan Mustafa. In September 2017, Barham Salih, a former Prime Minister of Iraqi Kurdistan and deputy leader of the PUK, announced that he was leaving the party and forming a new opposition party—the Coalition for Democracy and Justice. The party was seen to have the potential to change the Kurdish political landscape. He said he hoped to gather all the other opposition parties, including Gorran and Komal, to challenge the governing KDP–PUK alliance.[37] The three parties formed a coalition called Nishtiman (Homeland) to run in the elections.[25] The ruling KDP–PUK alliance have agreed to run again as a single list and all the Kurdish parties in Kirkuk have discussed running as a single list.[38] However, the KDP announced they would boycott elections in Kirkuk and other areas they described as "under military occupation".[39]
Sunni-majority areas
Within the Sunni Arab parties, the main Uniters for Reform Coalition (Muttahidoon), led by Osama al-Nujaifi, which won 23 seats in 2014, is running again, although the Iraqi Islamic Party, led by Speaker of Parliament Salim Jabouri, has left this coalition to join up with former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's Al-Wataniya and Salah al-Mutlak's Al-Arabiya. The combined list was called Al-Wataniya. Other parties as well have left the Muttahidoon coalition including the al-Hal Party and formed various alliances in the name of the provinces they ran in, such as Salahuddin Our Identity in Saladin Governorate, and Anbar Our Identity in Al Anbar Governorate and Baghdad Alliance in Baghdad.[40][citation needed]
Civil parties
Within the nonsectarian parties who aim to establish a civil state, the main alliance formed is the Civilized Alliance,[41][42] led by Faiq Al Sheikh Ali, which currently has 4 seats. The alliance consists of four liberal, non-sectarian, national parties, the People's Party for Reform, the Al-Etifak National Party, the National Civil Movement and Iraq's National Movement, and includes a number of independent figures. The Civil Democratic Alliance are also running in the elections as another major civil party.[43]
Christian parties
Of the 329 seats in parliament, five are reserved for the country's Christian minority. One reserved seat is allotted for each of five governorates: Baghdad, Duhok, Erbil, Kirkuk and Nineveh.[44] At the time of voting, only about 200,000 Christians remained in the country.[45]
In early May 2018, ISIL claimed to have assassinated Faruq Zarzur al-Juburi, a candidate in the Iraqi elections. The attack reportedly took place in Mosul, outside al-Juburi's house.[46] This was later on proven to be false; due to a family dispute, the candidate was killed by his son.[47]
On election day, a roadside bomb in Kirkuk killed six members of Tribal Mobilization (ar) (a pro-government Sunni tribal force) and injured three police officers.[48]
One Iraqi border guard was killed by a bomb in the outskirts of Khanaqin in Diyala on 13 May.[49]
Two offices linked to Muqtada al-Sadr in Maysan were bombed on 15 May but there were no casualties since both offices were empty at the time.[50][51] It is still unclear whether the attacks were a response to the parliamentary gains in the election made by Sadr's coalition.[52]
On 16 May, a polling station in Kirkuk was reportedly under siege by gunmen pressuring them to change the results after the PUK was indicated to have won the province.[53]
After the High Electoral Commission announced the results, there were claims of widespread fraud linked to the electronic counting of votes. The Council of Representatives held an emergency session and passed an amendment to the electoral law that cancelled the votes of internally-displaced and overseas voters and mandated a full manual recount for all other votes.
The Commission appealed to the Supreme Court. In a ruling on 21 June, the court upheld the full manual recount but struck down the cancellation of internally-displaced and overseas voters.[54] The final results were released on 9 August, with only minor changes affecting five candidates and two parties.[55]
Alliance Towards Reforms1,493,54214.3854New
Fatah Alliance1,366,78913.1648New
Victory Alliance1,133,91210.9242New
Kurdistan Democratic Party873,6458.41250
State of Law Coalition725,1086.9825–67
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan616,2325.9318–3
National Wisdom Movement547,2235.2719New
Gorran Movement201,7111.945–4
New Generation Movement170,9191.654New
Anbar Is Our Identity144,1821.396New
Eradaa Movement138,3671.333New
Coalition for Democracy and Justice123,1841.192New
Ability Coalition for Change112,9651.092
Baghdad Alliance98,3540.953
Kurdistan Islamic Union98,2780.952–2
Kurdistan Islamic Group96,8760.932–1
Arab Alliance of Kirkuk84,1020.813+2
Nineveh Is Our Identity83,1020.803New
Civilized Alliance82,8240.802New
Turkman Front of Kirkuk79,6940.773+1
National Fortress Coalition77,6240.753New
Democratic Approach70,1950.682
National Party of the Masses54,1350.522
Banners of Benevolence50,8630.492
The Passing50,2430.482
Civic Party32,5840.311
Saladin Is Our Identity31,9940.311
Assembly of the Men of Iraq25,8370.251
Babylon Movement12,4990.122
Yazidi Movement for Reform and Progress11,1410.111
Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Popular Council7,2930.071–1
Civil Democratic Alliance6,5350.061
Chaldean List4,8640.051
Rafidain List4,0770.041–1
Valid votes10,384,50295.79
Invalid/blank votes456,4674.21
Total votes10,840,969100.00
Registered voters/turnout24,352,25344.52
Source: IHEC, Xinhua, DW
By governorate
Baghdad Governorate (Including changes after manual recount)
PartyTotal votes[56]PercentageSeats
Forward (Saairun)467,02923.4%17
Conquest Alliance264,66913.3%10 (Before recount: 9)
State of Law Coalition237,21611.9%9
National Coalition223,32811.2%8
Victory Coalition216,42910.8%8
Arab Decision Alliance100,5605%4
National Wisdom Movement100,2795%4
Baghdad Alliance98,3544.9%3 (Before recount: 4)
Banners of Benevolence50,8632.5%2
Civilized Alliance35,2331.8%1
Democratic Approach33,1601.7%1
Civic Party32,5841.6%1
Movement of the Will27,5821.4%1
Ability Coalition for Change21,9031.1%0
Solidarity (Tadamun)20,5881%0
Mandaeans seat12,4470.6%1
Christian seat1
Anbar Governorate
PartyTotal votes[57]PercentageSeats
Anbar is Our Identity144,18235.9%6
National Coalition63,07615.7%3
Arab Decision Alliance58,57614.6%2
The Passing50,24312.5%2
Victory Coalition46,51311.6%2
Forward (Saairun)7,6841.9%0
Iraq Rescue Council6,5221.6%0
Solidarity (Tadamun)6,1641.5%0
Babil Governorate
PartyTotal votes[58]PercentageSeats
Conquest Alliance132,42122.5%4
Forward (Saairun)123,00120.9%4
Victory Coalition88,75315.1%3
National Wisdom Movement75,63712.9%3
State of Law Coalition61,72610.5%2
Ability Coalition for Change33,6205.7%1
Movement of the Will23,4514%0
National Coalition17,2642.9%0
National Movement of the Majority14,8472.5%0
Solidarity (Tadamun)5,5420.9%0
Civilized Alliance4,8400.8%0
Babylon Movement1,2540.2%0
Mesopotamia Coalition1,0690.2%0
Basra Governorate
PartyTotal votes[59]PercentageSeats
Conquest Alliance151,61622.4%6
Forward (Saairun)121,10317.9%5
Victory Coalition108,14316%5
State of Law Coalition94,56114%4
National Wisdom Movement57,3158.5%2
Assembly of the Men of Iraq25,8373.8%1
Movement of the Will23,8973.5%1
National Coalition23,2743.4%1
Construction and Reform17,8362.6%0
Democratic Coalition for Democracy11,9751.8%0
Party of Revenge of Allah11,6981.7%0
Civilized Alliance8,0021.2%0
Ability Coalition for Change7,3991.1%0
Dhi Qar Governorate
PartyTotal votes[57]PercentageSeats
Forward (Saairun)157,76328.6%6
Conquest Alliance118,99121.5%5
State of Law Coalition83,78915.2%3
Victory Coalition81,57514.8%3
National Wisdom Movement56,36110.2%2
Movement of the Will20,0243.6%0
National Coalition13,5772.5%0
Diyala Governorate
PartyTotal votes[60]PercentageSeats
Conquest Alliance108,60120.2%3
Arab Decision Alliance103,62519.3%3
National Coalition84,21315.7%3
Forward (Saairun)53,92310%2
Victory Coalition38,6907.2%1
National Wisdom Movement29,0905.4%1
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan27,4165.1%1
Diyala Challenge26,3394.9%0
State of Law Coalition20,1533.7%0
Solidarity (Tadamun)11,9292.2%0
Kurdistan Democratic Party10,3261.9%0
Dohuk Governorate
PartyTotal votes[61]PercentageSeats
Kurdistan Democratic Party353,17771.4%10
Kurdistan Islamic Union43,4178.9%1
Coalition for Democracy and Justice25,6565.3%0
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan25,5755.2%0
New Generation Movement18,0263.7%0
Rafidain List
Reserved Christian Seat
Movement for Change3,7970.8%0
Kurdistan Islamic Group3,6270.7%0
Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Popular Council3,4830.7%0
Erbil Governorate
PartyTotal votes[62]PercentageSeats
Kurdistan Democratic Party321,83350.1%8
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan79,72712.4%2
New Generation Movement70,84811%2
Coalition for Democracy and Justice50,5617.9%1
Movement for Change40,9416.4%1
Kurdistan Islamic Group36,8555.7%1
Kurdistan Islamic Union24,5643.8%0
Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party
Reserved Christian Seat
Karbala Governorate
PartyTotal votes[63][64]PercentageSeats
Conquest Alliance76,67925.2%3
Forward (Saairun)74,82024.6%3
Victory Coalition52,67417.3%2
State of Law Coalition39,92713.1%2
National Wisdom Movement20,3886.7%1
Ability Coalition for Change12,2614%0
National Coalition7,6462.5%0
Civilized Alliance6,2362%0
New Generation Movement3,6081.2%0
Kirkuk Governorate
PartyTotal vote[65]PercentageSeats
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan183,28337.8%6
Arab Alliance of Kirkuk84,10217.4%3
Turkman Front of Kirkuk79,69416.4%3
Victory Coalition24,3285%0
Conquest Alliance18,4273.8%0
National Coalition14,9793.1%0
Nishtiman coalition
Movement for Change
Coalition for Democracy and Justice
Kurdistan Islamic Group
New Generation Movement13,0962.7%0
Chaldean Coalition
Reserved Christian Seat
Kurdistan Islamic Group4,6311%0
Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Popular Council3,8100.8%0
Maysan Governorate
PartyTotal votes[66][64]PercentageSeats
Forward (Saairun)134,43042.8%5
Conquest Alliance63,83520.3%2
National Wisdom Movement40,23712.8%1
Victory Coalition36,41211.6%1
State of Law Coalition32,21310.3%1
National Coalition1,9720.6%0
New Generation Movement9520.3%0
Muthanna Governorate
PartyTotal votes[67][64]PercentageSeats
Forward (Saairun)71,05831%2
Conquest Alliance46,36320.2%2
Victory Coalition35,71215.6%1
National Wisdom Movement35,68615.6%1
State of Law Coalition31,05113.5%1
Movement of the Will3,7591.6%0
Babylon Movement1,4920.7%0
National Coalition1,1130.5%0
Construction and Reform9200.4%0
Najaf Governorate
PartyTotal votes[68][64]PercentageSeats
Forward (Saairun)92,21924.6%4
Conquest Alliance83,07022.1%3
Victory Coalition71,97119.2%3
National Wisdom Movement38,16310.2%1
State of Law Coalition37,0579.9%1
Movement of the Will14,8834%0
Nineveh Governorate
PartyTotal votes[69]PercentageSeats
Victory Coalition168,11217.9%7
Kurdistan Democratic Party139,48914.9%6
National Coalition104,02511.1%4
Nineveh Is Our Identity83,1028.9%3
Conquest Alliance75,0438%3
Arab Decision Alliance67,1177.2%3
National Party of the Masses54,1355.8%2
Democratic Approach37,0353.9%1
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan32,7893.5%1
Civilized Alliance28,5133%1
Solidarity (Tadamun)14,9361.6%0
Independent Qusay Abbas
Shabak Reserved Seat
Yazidi Democratic Party
Yazidi Reserved Seat
Babylon Movement
Christian Reserved Seat
Al-Qādisiyyah Governorate
PartyTotal votes[70]PercentageSeats
Conquest Alliance88,89524.8%3
Forward (Saairun)73,29420.4%3
Victory Coalition59,88316.7%2
State of Law Coalition42,87812%1
National Wisdom Movement42,13911.8%1
Movement of the Will24,7716.9%1
Civil Democratic Alliance65351.8%0
National Coalition48611.4%0
Saladin Governorate
PartyTotal votes[71]PercentageSeats
National Fortress Coalition77,62419.2%3
Conquest Alliance64,26715.9%2
National Coalition56,32513.9%2
Victory Coalition50,89812.6%2
Arab Decision Alliance38,7559.6%2
Saladin Is Our Identity31,9947.9%1
Iraq's Earth20,7785.1%0
Forward (Saairun)15,8163.9%0
Sulaymaniyah Governorate
PartyTotal votes[72]PercentageSeats
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan267,44239.4%8
Movement for Change156,97323.1%4
New Generation Movement64,3899.5%2
Kurdistan Islamic Group51,7637.6%1
Kurdistan Democratic Party48,8207.2%1
Coalition for Democracy and Justice46,9676.9%1
Kurdistan Islamic Union30,2974.5%1
Kurdistan Socialist Democratic Party4,8950.7%0
Communist Party of Kurdistan – Iraq1,7920.3%0
Babylonian Movement
Christian Reserved Seat
Wasit Governorate
PartyTotal votes[73]PercentageSeats
Forward (Saairun)101,40225.7%3
Conquest Alliance73,91218.7%2
Victory Coalition53,81913.6%2
National Wisdom Movement51,92813.2%2
State of Law Coalition44,53711.3%1
Ability Coalition for Change37,7829.6%1
National Coalition7,9412%0
Independent Mazen Abdel Moneim Gomaa
Reserved Feyli Kurdish Seat
Government formation
Further information: Abdul Mahdi Government
On 8 June, a formal agreement was signed by the leaders of the Alliance towards Reforms (Saairun) and the National Coalition (Wataniya) to become the largest bloc in the Council of Representatives. The bloc is calling for economic reform, consolidation of democracy, and political decentralization. A spokesman for Wataniya said that the agreement would be a prelude to other forces joining the alliance, and that serious talks were underway with the National Wisdom Movement (Hikma), the Kurdistan Democratic Party, the Fatah Alliance, and the Decision Alliance (Muttahidoon) as an alliance of these six electoral coalitions would constitute a majority that could form a government.[74]
Al-Sadr announced on 12 June that he had formed an alliance with Fatah, while maintaining an alliance with Al-Wataniya.[75] Prime Minister Abadi later met with Al Sadr on 23 June.[76] Al Sadr afterwards announced he had formed "a cross-sectarian, cross-ethnic alliance" with Abadi and that it would speed up the formation of a new government.[76] Abadi also announced that the new alliance between his Victory Alliance's and Al Sadr's Alliance towards Reforms "is not in contrast to any other alliances either of the two lists have previously entered into with other blocs, rather, it flows in the same direction and same principles."[76]
The final results of the election were announced on 9 August, starting the process to form the government.[55] Parliament convened on 3 September, but were unable to elect a speaker due to rivalries between two blocs who both claimed to be the largest coalition, entitled to nominate the Prime Minister. Al-Abadi presented an alliance with Saairun, Wataniya, Hikma and other smaller lists who between then held a majority of seats. However, Fatah also claimed to have a majority, based on an alliance with State of Law and with members of Abadi's coalition who had defected.[77]
Two weeks later parliament reconvened and elected a speaker in a secret ballot, with candidates from each of the rival blocs. Muhammad al-Halbusi, a Sunni Arab (as per the Iraqi tradition of muḥāṣaṣah) but backed by Fatah was elected.[78]
At the same time, violent protests occurred in Basra and other cities in the south over polluted water—which had hospitalised tens of thousands of people—and the lack of reliable electricity. Religious leaders called for a new Prime Minister who hadn't been in government before. Abadi announced on 13 September 2018 that he would respect this call and not run for a second term as prime minister.[79]
The vote for the President took place on 2 October. Previously, the president had always been a member of the second-largest Kurdish party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, under an agreement with the Kurdistan Democratic Party whereby the KDP would be president of Iraqi Kurdistan. However, the KDP fielded a separate candidate, Fuad Hussein, insisting that they had the right to the Presidency as the largest party. Both candidates went to a vote in the parliament, with the PUK's Barham Salih winning. He immediately nominated independent Shi'ite Adil Abdul-Mahdi, a former oil minister seen as acceptable to all parties and to both Iran and the United States, as Prime Minister-designate.[80]
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Last edited on 18 April 2021, at 02:12
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