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Hundreds rally in Iraq decrying results of recent parliamentary vote

Hundreds rally 
in Iraq decrying 
results of recent
parliamentary vote

dpa
Baghdad
Hundreds of protesters on Sunday took to the streets in some parts of Iraq, condemning the results of recent parliamentary elections in which pro-Iran groups suffered significant losses, witnesses said.
Preliminary results of the October 10 polls showed that a bloc led by Iraq’s influential cleric Moqtada al-Sadr won 73 seats so remains the largest group in the 329-strong parliament.
However, the Fatah bloc, which is close to Iran, only won 15 seats, a major decline from the 47 seats it held in the previous parliament.
An alliance of nine Muslim Shiite groups, linked to pro-Iran militias, have rejected the results, claiming the election was marred by “major irregularities.”
On Sunday, supporters of those groups rallied in the capital Baghdad and the southern province of Basra and set tyres on fire in protest against the results, witnesses added.
Protesters meanwhile cut off a road linking Baghdad with Basra.
The election, held months ahead of schedule, came amid widespread frustration with Iraq’s political elite.
Some 43 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballots, an electoral commission said Sunday, 2 per cent more than initially estimated.
Still, the figure marks the lowest turnout in the five elections since long-time ruler Saddam Hussein was toppled from power in 2003, with a previous low of 44.5 per cent recorded in 2018.
Many Iraqis have little faith in politics and had not expected the recent election to change the balance of power.
Oil-rich Iraq has been struggling with an economic and political crisis for years.

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