Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Iraq: Overseas voting shows significantly lower turnout

Tomorrow, the Iraqi people vote in parliamentary elections.  The results will determine the make up of their next Parliament.  Their next Parliament is supposed to determine their prime minister but that's never happened.  Not so far.  The December 2005 parliamentary elections?  Those elected wanted Ibrahim al-Jaafari to be prime minister (again) but the White Hose wanted Nouri al-Maliki.  The March 2010 parliamentary elections saw Nouri's State of Law lose to Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya but the White House wanted Nouri to be prime minister (again).

 Osama al-Khafaji and Ghassan Hamid (Alsumaria) have noted that there are over 9000 candidates competing for 328 seats.  AFP adds that there are "more than 20 million Iraqis [who] are eligible to vote" on Wednesday.  The United Nations issued the following today:

Secretary-General Hails Timely Progress towards Polls in Iraq, Condemns

Violence Targeting Leaders, Candidates, Electoral Staff

The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

On 30 April, Iraq will hold nationwide Council of Representatives elections and Governorate Council elections in the Kurdistan region.  These elections mark an important milestone in Iraq’s democratic transition and can contribute to greater peace and stability in the country.

The Secretary-General welcomes the progress made by the Independent High Electoral Commission in holding these elections on time and in line with national commitments and international standards.

The Secretary-General strongly condemns the wave of violence and terrorist attacks that has targeted political leaders, candidates and electoral staff ahead of the elections and conveys his deepest condolences to the families of those affected.  He urges all political leaders and personalities to create the conditions necessary to enable all Iraqi men and women to participate in the electoral process and to have their say on the future of their country.

* *** *

The United Nations isn't the only body making announcements today.  Ghassan Hamid and Mohammed Shafiq (Alsumaria) report the Independent High Electoral Commission announced today that 165,000 Iraqis living outside of Iraq have voted in the overseas elections.  Though this is being trumpeted as a large number, it's not.  The last two years have seen an increase yet again in the number of Iraqi leaving the country with some estimates of 250,000 Iraqis having left Iraq since the end of 2011. At the height of the crisis four years earlier, four million Iraqis had left the country.  Not only is 165,000 a small number compared to that, these are post-2003 invasion numbers we're dealing with.  The overseas voting?  One Iraqi profiled by the press left in 1983.  So the voters go back decades.  You probably have around six million potential voters.  (In 2010, it was thought to be 3 million.) Yet only 200,000 voted.

Granted, Syria's not being allowed to take part in the elections and the last reliable estimate was 300,000 Iraqi refugees in Syria.  Even had Syria been allowed to vote and 300,000 Iraqis there voted, that still wouldn't have brought the number voting to 200,000.  Millions outside of Iraq could have voted.

Not only is the number low when you consider the many who could have voted, it's also low when you consider the 2010 elections.  Rania El Gamal and Ahmed Rasheed (Reuters) reported March 8, 2010, "There were 272,016 expatriate voters, IHEC said, compared to expectations of more than one million."

This is a significant decrease and violence can't be given as the reason in that it is safer to vote, for example, in New Zealand than in Mosul.

Is this low turnout speaking only to refugee issues or does it indicate a disenchantment with the voting process (or the supposed results) that will also be true within Iraq?

At this point, no one knows and everything is a guess.

But in 2010, there were 272,016 Iraqis voting from outside Iraq and this go around it was only 165,000 -- that's over 100,000 less voters than four years ago.

We're all smart enough to grasp that this year's 165,000 is smaller than 2010's 272,016, right?


Nouri's State of Law is motley collection of the ugly and the stupid.

Sameera al-Mousawi provides the proof today.  The female State of Law MP tells All Iraq News that, "The participation ratio in the special voting by the security elements and the Iraqis abroad show increase of the citizens' awareness and interest."  That's not true of the abroad vote.  (I also believe that the security forces voted approximately the same percent this year as in 2010 -- I believe it was over 90% both times but I don't have time to hunt down the 2010 numbers.)

Let's note the violence.  Through yesterday, 942 is the number killed from violence this month according to Iraq Body Count.


Nouri's continued War Crimes in Iraq left 2 civilians dead today and four more injured as a result of his use of collective punishment in the continued bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods. National Iraqi News Agency reports an armed battle "west of Kirkuk" left 8 rebels dead, 2 bombs going off in a Khanaqin market left 15 people dead and forty-five more injured, and, dropping back to last night, a Dora suicide bomber took his own life and the lives of 2 Federal Police members (with nine more left injured) while an al-Mada'en attack left 5 Sahwa dead and eight more injured. Alsumaria reports a Mafraq roadside bombing (west of Baquba) left 3 people dead and seven more injured, a Radwaniya roadside bombing left 1 police member dead and two more injured, and an Abu Ghraib roadside bombing left 1 person dead and four more injured, and 1 male corpse (30-years-old and gunshot wounds) was discovered dumped in the streets of Hawija.

The following community sites -- plus Ms. magazine's blog, the ACLU, Black Agenda Report, Susan's On the Edge, the Guardian, Tavis Smiley, Antiwar.com and Jake Tapper -- updated:

  • Etc.
    3 hours ago

  • The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.