Widespread Demonstrations, TPS in Iraq’s Preliminary Elections Closed

Polling stations (TPS) across Iraq, in parliamentary elections expected to kick-start much-needed reforms after decades of conflict and mismanagement, have closed.

The vote, originally scheduled to take place next year, was held months earlier in response to widespread protests in the Iraqi capital Baghdad and southern provinces in late 2019. Security forces responded to the demonstration with tear gas and live ammunition. More than 600 people have died and thousands more injured in recent months.

More than 25,000 security personnel were assigned to protect the voting process. However, for the first time in decades, there was no curfew. This reflects the increased security in the country in recent years.

This parliamentary election is the sixth since the US-led invasion in 2003 that toppled Saddam Hussein. There are 3,449 candidates battling for the 329 seats in parliament.

According to the independent body that oversees Iraq’s elections, the results are expected to be known within the next 48 hours. Negotiations to choose a prime minister to form Iraq’s new government are expected to last for several months. [em/jm]

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