AP VoteCast: Inflation, democracy drive demoralized voters to the hills
Citizens of Iraq’s capital turned out for the first time in months on Sunday to cast votes. They did so in an effort, said the head of the Elections Committee, to try to avoid a repeat of last week’s disastrous parliamentary elections – and of the violence that followed.
The results, which are widely expected to be announced on Monday, represent a return to the polls which has been absent for three years. Voters in Baghdad turned out on a relatively warm, sunny afternoon under the blazing noonday sky.
And for the most part, they voted as well as they could.
The turnout was up to 79 percent, in line with last week’s turnout, and was considered a major victory for the government. It was also a sharp contrast to the polling chaos that followed the elections in April last year when the election commission was dissolved following a deadly bombing on one of the first days of the elections – by a group named Asaib Ahl al-Haq. They bombed the election commission building and then walked around with AK-47s, killing at least 16 people, injuring many more, and burning buildings to block the way to the commission.
With a clear majority now in power, the government is confident that its new government will receive a positive response from the Iraqi people.
But a vote against the government could yet be a vote for the opposition.
What is the opposition?
Iraq’s opposition is the Islamic Dawa party which is led by Mohammed Allawi, the grandson of the former Iraqi president, in which role Allawi has served as the minister of state for defense. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and his government have been widely criticized for their handling of the sectarian violence taking place in the country, and for not doing enough to contain it. And in recent months Abadi’s government has faced widespread criticism as it failed to respond to the surge of violence, and its failure has led many to call on