Monday, December 18, 2023

Special Voting For Iraq’s Provincial Elections Occur Amongst Continued Cheating

Members of the Iraqi Security Forces voting in the special elections (Al Rafidain)

On December 16 voting began in Iraq’s provincial elections. This was the special voting which is for the security forces (ISF) and displaced. Regular balloting will occur on December 18. The government claimed that turnout was very high with 67% participating but there are major questions about that.


The Shams Election Monitoring Network claimed that the 67% was falsified by the Election Commission. It viewed video of a voting center and went through the ballot numbers and found irregularities which pointed to very low turnout.


There were reports that the security forces were threatened into voting. According to the Associated Press members of the ISF were told they would be transferred if they didn’t cast ballots. Al Mada was told that government officials and commanders told soldiers and policemen they would not get paid if they didn’t take part.


The numbers for the general voting could be off as well. As in previous elections the ruling parties are buying up voter cards to fix the results. There are other violations occurring as well. The Labor Ministry accused Badr of blackmailing the poor to vote for it or have their government aid cut.


Iraq’s elections have never been clean. The elite have cheated again and again. They are assured of victory every time because there is no real opposition and the rules are usually stacked against smaller and newer parties. That means the real competition is between the ruling lists over how many victorious candidates each can win. That is then calculated as part of a quota system that determines how many government positions they will receive. Those offices are then used to loot the state.


Many predict that general voting will be the lowest in Iraq’s post-2003 history. Moqtada al-Sadr has called for a boycott and many Iraqis are disillusioned with the political process which provides little to the public. In a democracy the government is supposed to serve the people. In Iraq, the coalitions only care about the public during election time and ignore them afterward.




Abdul-Zahra, Qassim, “Voter apathy and concerns about violence mark Iraq’s first provincial elections in a decade,” 12/16/23


Al Mada, “Special Balloting: Threatening messages to members of the Hashd participating for the first time with more than 200,000 votes,” 12/16/23


NINA, “IHEC: The number of voters of special ballot reached more than 706 thousand voters, 67%,” 12/16/23


Al Rafidain, “Parliamentary Migration Committee: Political Parties Exploit Funds allocated To Displaced Persons For Electoral Reasons,” 12/16/23

-, “Shams Election Monitoring Network: The Participation Rate In The Elections Is The Lowest Since 2005,” 12/17/23


Al Sumaria, “Arrest of a citizen who collects electoral cards in exchange for distributing plots of land,” 12/16/23


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