On the 12th May 2018, Iraq held its fifth parliamentary elections since the fall of Saddam Hussein, and the first since the defeat of ISIS. Unlike previous elections, this election was met with a lot of resentment from many Iraqis, reflected by the 44% participation rate, the lowest Iraq has seen since 2003. The elections resulted in the rise of the Sa’iroun Alliance, which receives its guidance from the Shi’a cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
Despite the threats made by ISIS against attacking election polls and targeting candidates, the elections were held without any major security incidents, as the high security provisions put in place succeeded in protecting voters.
However, independent observers have noted that there have been many errors and issues that were recorded during the voting process. Al-Ain Election Network noted many technical issues with the electronic verification systems and the inexperience of the volunteers running the offices. The volunteers’ lack of training caused confusion amongst voters, many of whom were not accounted for in the results as their ballot papers became void, due to failure to stamp the right boxes.
Tamouz Social Development Organisation, another independent observatory group consisting of over 3,0000 observers, reported many technical errors or violations. “We have reported more than 1,000 cases of violations and error, some of which were greatly repeated,” said Vian Sheikh Ali, an affiliate of the organisation.
The Iraqi Bar Association also reported many errors. Amongst the errors, the association notes, was the barring of many observers from entering some of the polling stations, the delay in opening some of the polling stations, and the promotion of candidates within the polling stations by some parties.
A network of observers also noted that some of the polling stations in villages and the countryside were placed in problematic areas.
In Kirkuk, a manual recount was initiated while six Kurdish Parties rejecting the results of the elections and demanding the elections be held again in a few areas within the KRG.