The growing interference of Iran separates the groups in an election anticipated by the social protests of 2019 and that may be the last before the US withdrawal
Iraq votes this Sunday in the fifth general elections since the fall of Saddam Hussein and those that may be the last with a US military presence. The Americans left Afghanistan after two decades of war and the Taliban are in power. And, if the agreement in summer is fulfilled, they will withdraw their combat forces from Iraq on December 31 after 18 years of military operation that leaves a country in the hands of the Shiite religious parties, close to Iran, and their militias.
In the streets of Baghdad, the figures of Abu Mahdi Al Muhandis and Qasem Suleimani – leader of the Popular Mobilization Units and general of the Revolutionary Guard of Iran, respectively, were killed in an attack with a US drone ordered by Donald Trump in January 2020- they have more weight and presence than the candidates for Parliament. Whoever wins, the future prime minister will once again need the go-ahead from Washington and Tehran, the two great powers that have pulled the strings in Baghdad since 2003.
They are the first early elections in the modern history of the country, since they were called to try to calm the protests that hit the streets in October 2019. Thousands of people, especially young people, demonstrated in Baghdad and the big cities of the south, from Shiite majority, to show their rejection of unemployment, corruption, Iranian interference and a political system that has condemned the nation to sectarian and ethnic division.
The Iraqis paid for this uprising with the blood of at least 700 protesters, but achieved the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, the advancement of the elections and the introduction of a series of changes in the electoral law to try to facilitate the entry of candidates. independent among the 327 members of the Chamber. Early voting is a concession to those protests, but its protagonists call for a boycott of the polls because they think that nothing will change and it is feared that the turnout will be less than the 50% registered in 2018.