Pro-Iranian groups reject early Iraq election results as ‘scam’
Several pro-Iranian parties promise to launch an appeal after early results show losses for parties with PMF links.
Hadi al-Amiri, one of the leaders of the Fateh alliance, rejected the election results [File: Ahmed Saad/Reuters]
12 Oct 2021
Pro-Iranian parties and armed groups have denounced early results from Iraq’s elections as “manipulation” and a “scam”.
Sunday’s parliamentary election – the fifth in the war-scarred country since the US-led invasion and overthrow of ruler Saddam Hussein in 2003 – was marked by a record low turnout of 41 percent.
According to preliminary results from the electoral commission, the biggest winner appeared to be the movement of religious scholar and political maverick Muqtada al-Sadr, which increased its share to 73 of the assembly’s 329 seats.
Losses were booked by pro-Iranian parties with links to the armed groups that make up the fighter network known as Hashd al-Shaabi, or Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF).
The Fateh (Conquest) Alliance, previously the second largest bloc in parliament, suffered a sharp decline from 48 to about a dozen seats, according to observers and results compiled by AFP.
“We will appeal against the results and we reject them,” said a joint statement by several parties, including the Fateh Alliance, on Tuesday.
“We will take all available measures to prevent the manipulation of votes,” added the statement also signed by the party of former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who served from 2014 to 2018.
Hadi al-Amiri, one of the most powerful pro-Iranian figures in Iraq, said the results were “fabricated”, according to the Baghdad-based pro-Iranian TV channel al-Aahd.
“We will not accept these fabricated results, whatever the cost,” the channel cited him as saying on Tuesday on its Telegram messaging account.
Supporters of Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr celebrate in Baghdad’s Tahrir square [File: Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP]
One of Hashd’s most powerful factions, the Hezbollah Brigades, rejected the election as “the biggest scam and rip-off the Iraqi people have been subjected to in modern history”.
“The Hashd al-Shaabi brothers are the main targets,” its spokesman Abu Ali al-Askari said.
The Hashd was formed in 2014 and went on to play a major role in the defeat of the ISIL (ISIS) group, which had expanded its self-declared “caliphate” centred in Syria and taken over a third of Iraq.
The Hashd has since been integrated into Iraq’s state security apparatus, and many lawmakers linked to it were elected to parliament in 2018.
Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi brought forward the vote from 2022 to appease a youth-led protest movement that erupted two years ago against corruption, unemployment, crumbling public services and Iranian influence in politics.
The protest movement ended after hundreds of demonstrators were killed. More activists have since been targeted in bloodshed and abductions which the movement blames on pro-Iran armed groups.
Ali al-Nashmi, professor of International Relations at Mustansiriyah University in Baghdad told Al Jazeera that the election results appeared likely to produce a similar outcome to the previous election held in 2018.
“Nothing will happen … the[re] [are the] same leaders, same list, same schedule, and the same plan and goal, nothing will happen on the ground,” he said.
“All the dreams, all the hopes, all the demands of the Iraqi people are gone with the wind … many people expected that something will change with these elections but maybe [we will see] just some few changes,” he added.
Iraq is a major oil producer but nearly a third of its almost 40 million people live in poverty, according to United Nations figures, and the COVID pandemic only deepened a long-running economic crisis.
Kadhimi’s political future is now uncertain, with few observers willing to predict who will emerge as leader after the usual haggling between factions that follows Iraqi elections.
Another notable trend in the elections were the gains by the pro-Iranian State of Law Alliance of former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, who served from 2006 to 2014. His party is likely to be able to count on about 30 seats.
The European Union observer mission said it saw the low voter turnout as a “clear political signal”, hoping that it would be “heard by the political elite”.
Muq­ta­da al-Sadr set to win Iraq vote, for­mer PM al-Ma­li­ki sec­ond
Ini­tial re­sults sug­gest that the griev­ances that drove peo­ple to the streets in 2019 are un­like­ly to be ad­dressed.
11 Oct 2021
In­fo­graph­ic: All you need to know about Iraq’s elec­tion
Some 25 mil­lion peo­ple are reg­is­tered to vote in Iraq’s fifth par­lia­men­tary elec­tion since the 2003 US-led in­va­sion.
10 Oct 2021
Vote count un­der­way in Iraq af­ter record low turnout
Pre­lim­i­nary turnout for the fifth elec­tion since the 2003 US in­va­sion was at 41 per­cent.
11 Oct 2021
UN calls for ‘prompt’ probe into Saudi-led air raids in Yemen
Airbus cancels $6bn contract with Qatar Airways after paint fight
What’s happened at AFCON so far and what’s in store?
US in talks with Qatar over supplying LNG to EU: Reports
‘A war crime against humanity’: Yemen rebels denounce attack
US suspends flights by China carriers after Beijing COVID move
Pfizer, Moderna boosters up to 90% effective against Omicron: CDC
World War II aircraft that crashed in India found after 77 years
Follow Al Jazeera English:
© 2022 Al Jazeera Media Network
You rely on Al Jazeera for truth and transparency
We understand that your online privacy is very important and consenting to our collection of some personal information takes great trust. We ask for this consent because it allows Al Jazeera to provide an experience that truly gives a voice to the voiceless. You have the option to decline the cookies we automatically place on your browser but allowing Al Jazeera and our trusted partners to use cookies or similar technologies helps us improve our content and offerings to you. You can change your privacy preferences at any time by selecting ‘Cookie preferences’ at the bottom of your screen.To learn more, please view our Cookie Policy.