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Iraqis wait in line to vote next to ruins from the battle to oust Islamic State militants, Mosul, Iraq, May 12, 2018 (AP photo by Maya Alleruzzo).

Why Iraq’s Elections Were an Indictment of the Elite

Friday, May 18, 2018

Iraqis and outside observers alike are still making sense of the surprise results of last weekend’s elections, the country’s first since the violent rise and fall of the Islamic State. In the biggest shock, the populist Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s political coalition—a nationalist, non-sectarian alliance between his political movement, secular activists and the Iraqi Communist Party, known as Sairoon—won the most seats in parliament. Trailing just a few seats behind were the pre-election favorite, the Nasr Alliance of incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, and the Fateh Alliance led by Hadi al-Ameri, whose list represents a majority of paramilitary groups associated with the mainly Shiite Popular Mobilization Units.

The challenge of forming a government now awaits, and with it indications about Iraq’s future and the prospects for demanded reforms. ...

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