Voter turnout in Iraq provincial polls hits 41%

Advertisement

Iraqi authorities said the voter turnout for the provincial elections, which were held after a gap of 10 years, stood at 41 per cent. According to the Independent High Electoral Commission, around 6.6 million out of more than 16 million eligible voters cast their votes during voting on Monday and early balloting on December 16, reports Xinhua news agency.

Voting was held in 15 of the country’s 18 provinces, excluding the three provinces in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. The eligible voters chose 285 new members for the provincial councils from 5,901 candidates. “The commission prepared well to ensure the transparency of the elections by installing 112,000 surveillance cameras at polling stations,” Hassan Hadi Zayer, a member of the media team of the electoral commission, told Xinhua at a polling centre in Baghdad.

Samir Abdul-Samad, a 45-year-old government employee, said, “I participated in the elections to make a change to our life and get rid of corruption so that we can get better services because our suffering from lack of public services is great.” He said his motivation to participate in the local elections was the hope for a better future, “we cannot keep our hands tied and must contribute to changing the current situation for the better.”

Advertisement

The turnout in the provincial elections could have been even higher had it not been for the boycott of prominent Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who officially withdrew in 2022 from the political scene after a lengthy political deadlock over cabinet formation. On Monday night, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani congratulated the Iraqi people for the success of the provincial elections, calling the polls “a step toward the administrative decentralization and support to the civil peace and stability”. The last provincial elections in Iraq were held in April 2013.