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Iraqis go to the polls in small numbers. The results could affect Iran’s influence.

Voter turnout was low and security was tight, but the overall picture on Sunday was a relatively peaceful one as Iraq held its fifth parliamentary election since the 2003 US-led invasion that overthrew Saddam Hussein and the East. An inauguration for democracy in the Middle East.

Although the turnout was just over 30 percent – suggesting indifference on the part of the Iraqi people – large areas are watching closely for signs of Baghdad’s future political direction as neighboring Iran gains influence in the oil-rich country. Looking to compete faster.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kazmi, generally regarded as a neutral political force, will decide his future by the outcome, which will become clear in the coming days, and is expected to be linked to Shiite Islamist parties affiliated with Iran. Will support

Some of these parties have ties to Iranian-backed militias in Iraq – a fact that Tehran has vehemently denied. At the same time, groups from Iraq’s Shi’ite factions dominate the electoral scene, as they have since the fall of Saddam Hussein, when the country’s power base shifted from a Sunni minority to a Shiite majority.

Shiite groups are divided, especially on the question of influence from Iran, the region’s home of Shiite Muslim power and a key rival to Sunni Saudi Arabia, which is also a neighbor of Iraq.

Reuters news agency reported on Sunday that the Iraqi Shiite movement behind the popular Shiite Muqtada al-Sadr, which opposes all foreign intervention in the country and whose main rivals are Shiite groups affiliated with Iran, predicts that they It will emerge as the largest faction in the Iraqi parliament.

It is a complex political scenario that could affect the future of some 2,500 US troops, who the Pentagon says are currently in Iraq to help the Iraqi military prepare for counterterrorism. What could have been a re-emerging Islamic State-Sunni Muslim extremist group that brought everyone together. The country is on its knees between 2014 and 2017

Before polling closed on Sunday night, Agence France-Presse quoted Iraqi Election Commission chief Jalil Adnan as saying the turnout was estimated at more than 30 percent. The news agency reports that many of Iraq’s 25 million eligible voters had expected to boycott the election amid widespread mistrust, unemployment and public service amid deep mistrust of one political class. Accused of breaking.

“This is an opportunity for change,” AFP quoted Mr Kazmi as saying as he cast his ballot in Baghdad’s stronghold of the Green Zone. Get out there and vote, change your reality, for Iraq and your future.

Reuters quoted Election Commission officials as predicting lower voter turnout, reporting the lowest turnout in any election since 2003.

This article is partly based on wire service reports.

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