| 26 February 2024, Monday |

Iraq’s ruling Shiite alliance leads in provincial elections – initial results

The collective parties forming Iraq’s Shiite ruling coalition secured the largest bloc of votes in Baghdad and the majority of the southern provinces during the preliminary results of the provincial council elections, according to a tally by Reuters.
The election is seen as an indicator of the balance of power in a country where groups close to neighboring Iran have steadily gained influence, and comes ahead of 2025 parliamentary polls.
The results from the Independent High Electoral Commission, which included only raw votes and not the final seat allocation, show three electoral lists backed by the ruling Shiite Muslim Coordination Framework (CF) leading in most of the provinces.
They include a list backed by former prime minister Nouri Al-Maliki; a list led by Hadi Al-Amiri’s Badr Organization that began as a Shiite paramilitary group, and other Iran-backed factions; and a list including cleric Ammar Al-Hakim and former prime minister Haidar Al-Abadi.
Amid an election boycott by Shiite populist cleric Moqtada Sadr, their main political rival, the fractious parties that make up the CF competed on several lists, but said they would govern together following the vote.
They swept strongholds of Sadr as well as backers of the 2019 Tishreen anti-government protest movement, including Dhi Qar and Misan provinces.
A notable exception came in the southern oil-producing province of Basra, where a list backed by popular governor Asaad Al-Edani won with a landslide of more than 250,000 votes — more than all of the CF-backed lists put together.
They CF already form the single-largest bloc in parliament and are the main backers of the current government of Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani.
With their gains in local elections, the CF have further consolidated their hold on power in the country of 43 million.
In the northern oil-rich city of Kirkuk, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, a Kurdish party allied with the CF, took the most votes, followed by a Sunni Arab list and a Turkmen list.
Recently ousted parliament speaker Mohammed Halbousi’s party won first place in the predominantly Sunni Muslim Anbar province and also obtained the most votes in the capital Baghdad.
In the northern province of Mosul, a Sunni Arab list supported by the former governor, Najim Al-Jabouri, garnered the most votes, followed by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).
The head of Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) said the announced results were preliminary and represented 94 percent of the final total.
Voting took place on Monday in 15 of Iraq’s 18 provinces to select 285 council members who appoint powerful provincial governors and oversee local administration.


  • Arab News