TEHRAN (Press Shia) – The initial results of Iraq’s parliamentary elections show a turnout hovering around 44 percent, the Arab country’s Independent High Electoral Commission announced.
Turnout was 44.52 percent with 92 percent of the votes counted. Results are due to be officially announced on Monday, the commission said, according to Reuters.
Counting began after polls closed late Saturday, wrapping up one day of voting.
Haida al-Abadi came to power four years ago after Daesh seized a third of the country.
But now that the military campaign is over, he is rivaling with his predecessor Nuri al-Maliki, and the leader of the main Shiite popular group, Hadi al-Amiri.
Abadi is seen as the narrow frontrunner, but victory is far from certain.
“He’s non-sectarian and we like him,” said Um Laila in West Mosul, which suffered some of the heaviest damage during the war against Daesh. “He liberated Mosul.”
Even if Abadi’s Victory Alliance wins the most seats, he still must negotiate a coalition government, which must be formed within 90 days of the election.
One of his principal rivals is Amiri, 63, who played a pivotal role in defeating the terrorists.
“I voted for Amiri because he is a clean leader. Without him, Daesh (would have been here),” said Raid Sabah, 39, who is struggling to make a living as a taxi driver in the southern city of Basra. “Abadi didn’t do anything.”
Maliki, who stepped aside in 2014 after Daesh swept through a third of the country, is seeking a comeback.
More than 7,000 candidates in 18 provinces are running this year for 329 parliamentary seats. More than 24 million of Iraq’s 37 million people were eligible to vote.