Saturday, May 12, 2018

Iraq elections 2018: Historic low turnout and fraud alleged in Sulaimani while at least 3 people die in violence

Daniel Bellamy (EURO NEWS) reports 3 people died from a bombing after polls closed -- two were voters and one was a polling observer.  These were the first parliamentary elections since April 30, 2014.  At that time, the Islamic State was on the rise thanks to the actions of then-prime minister Nouri al-Maliki but they had yet to seize territory.

Strangely, there are 'experts' (gas bags) who judge ISIS by how much territory they hold when holding territory was actually not their goal or aim but something they managed to do because of Nouri al-Maliki's corruption, violence and ineptitude.

The elections that took place today had been postponed.  In addition, they were cut in half -- this was supposed to combine provincial and parliamentary elections.

That didn't happen and provincial candidates may be very grateful about that since turnout was very, very low.  Nabih Bulos (LOS ANGLES TIMES) notes, "Before noon, Prime Minister Haider Abadi ordered the curfew lifted in what was thought to be a bid to encourage more people to come out to vote, but it appeared to have little effect even with 30 minutes before polls closed at 6 p.m."

Why would they be excited?

 Ali Jawad (ANADOLU AGENCY) notes, "A total of 24 million Iraqis are eligible to cast their ballots to elect members of parliament, who will in turn elect the Iraqi president and prime minister."  RUDAW adds, "Around 7,000 candidates have registered to stand in the May 12 poll, with 329 parliamentary seats up for grabs."  AFP explains that the nearly 7,000 candidates includes 2014 women.  THE SIASAT DAILY adds, of the nearly 7,000 candidates, "According to the electoral commission, only 20 percent of the candidates are newcomers." Ali Abdul-Hassan and Sinan Salaheddin (AP) report, "Iraqi women account for 57 percent of Iraq’s population of over 37 million, according to the U.N. Development Program, and despite government efforts to address gender inequality, the situation for Iraqi women has declined steadily since 2003.  According to the UNDP, one in every 10 Iraqi households is headed by a widow. In recent years, Iraqi women suffered further economic, social and political marginalization due to decades of wars, conflict, violence and sanctions."    RUDAW also notes that 60 Christian candidates are competing for the five allotted minority seats.  How do they elect the prime minister?  This comes after the general election and is based on who won seats in the election.   Abdulrahman al-Rashed (AL ARABIYA) explains, "To win the premiership, a candidate needs to win the majority of the votes, i.e. the votes of 165 MPs out of 329. Since it is a multi-party system, it is almost impossible to win these votes without sealing political alliances. The governorate of Baghdad is the most important one because it is the largest with 69 seats."  The chief issues?  Mustapha Karkouti (GULF NEWS) identifies them as follows, "Like in previous elections, the main concerns of ordinary Iraqis continue to be the lack of security and the rampant corruption."  Sunday, RUDAW explained that the electoral commission "so far fined 210 candidates for violations of commission guidelines."

Corruption is a key issue and it was not a topic explored by candidates outside of Moqtada al-Sadr's coalition.  Empty lip service was offered.  Hayder al-Abadi, current prime minister, had been offering empty lip service for four years.  He did nothing.  Iraqis were supposed to think that, for example, Hayder's focus on ISIS in Mosul mattered.  All life was supposed to stop because of Mosul?  All expectations were to be ignored because of Mosul?

Arabic social media today and yesterday was full of comments about the lack of improvement in services.  It noted how the elections had not mattered before and, yes, how in 2010 the US government overturned the elections because they didn't like the outcome. 

I'm sorry, where's the special counsel investigating that?

Oh, that's right, in the US, Americans only get outraged when they feel their elections are stolen, not when they know they stole another country's elections.  So it's not at all surprising that NPR states, "With more than 90 percent of the votes in, Iraq's election commission announced voter turnout of 44.5 percent. The figure is down sharply from 60 percent of eligible voters who cast their ballots in the last elections in 2014." It's left to AP to point out the obvious NPR ignored, "No election since 2003 saw turnout below 60 percent."  AFP also spoke clearly, "More than half of the nearly 24.5 million voters did not show up at the ballot box in the parliamentary election, the highest abstention rate since the first multiparty elections in 2005 [. . .]."

So this turnout was historically low.

Martin Chulov (GUARDIAN) reports:

But as voters trudged towards polling stations, there was none of the euphoria of previous polls – where purple ink-dipped fingers were happily displayed – and almost no energy surrounding the process. Iraqis had done it all before, and elections had delivered little. Election monitors outnumbered voters at several polling stations in west Baghdad. “I’m just doing my duty,” said Samira Ahmed in the suburb of Mansour. “We hope it will lead to something, but we doubt it,” said a second woman.

Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Philip Issa (AP) explain, "Results are expected within the next 48 hours according to the independent body that oversees Iraq’s election, but negotiations to choose a prime minister tasked with forming a government are expected to drag on for months."

Not all was peaceful.  REUTERS notes, "The governor of Iraq’s Kirkuk province declared a curfew on Saturday and ordered a manual recount of votes there in the national election, saying an electronic counting system had produced an 'illogical' result."  What's going on there?

Well there is a disagreement regarding the Kirkuk vote between the KDP and PUK.  But that's really less interesting than what's going on in Sulaimani which is also in the Kurdistan Regional Government.  RUDAW reports that the PUK is said to have done well in that area.  And that no one believes those to be honest or accurate outcomes.  The Coalition for Democracy and Justice is stating that "large scale fraud has been committed."

Okay, but --

Wait, we're not finished.

The KRG's second most popular party, Goran (Change) says there's no way the PUK won in that region. 

We're still not done.

Komal also says it couldn't have happened and that "we will not abide to those results."

Still not done.  The Kurdistan Islamic Union and the Kurdistan Communist Party also state there's no way the PUK could have won.

Still not done.  The KDP says the results indicate "systematic fraud."

The PUK is the party of the Talabanis.  After Jalal Talabani's stroke and Hero Talabani and others lying for over 18 months that Jalal was fit to continue as president while hiding him out in Germany and propping him up for staged photos, the PUK went from the second most popular party in the KRG to the third most popular.

Goran then moved up to second place.  The KDP is the party of the Barzanis and, in the last election cycle for parliamentary elections and for provincial elections, the KDP is the most popular party in the KRG.

The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated:


  • Wheels (Maria McKee)

    Lone Justice/Maria McKee performing "Wheels" -- first appears on Lone Justice's SHELTER.

    Julian Assange is in danger

    From WSWS:

    Julian Assange is in immense danger. Remarks made this week by Ecuador’s foreign minister suggest that her government may be preparing to renege on the political asylum it granted to the WikiLeaks editor in 2012 and hand him over to British and then American authorities.
    On March 28, under immense pressure from the governments in the US, Britain and other powers, Ecuador imposed a complete ban on Assange having any Internet or phone contact with the outside world, and blocked his friends and supporters from physically visiting him. For 45 days, he has not been heard from.
    Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa stated in a Spanish-language interview on Wednesday that her government and Britain “have the intention and the interest that this be resolved.” Moves were underway, she said, to reach a “definite agreement” on Assange.
    Read the Full Report
    The World Socialist Web Site and the International Committee of the Fourth International unconditionally defend Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. If the ruling elite can haul him before a court, it will hold him up as an example of what happens to those who speak out against social inequality, militarism, war and police-state measures. His prosecution would be used to try to intimidate and silence all dissent.
    If Assange is imprisoned or worse, and WikiLeaks shut down, it will be a serious blow to the democratic rights of the entire international working class.
    Workers and young people should join with the WSWS and ICFI in demanding and fighting for the immediate freedom of Julian Assange.

    Help spread expose what is happening! Share this article as widely as possible on social media!

    The World Socialist Web Site
    At the May Day Online Rally May 5, Andre Damon delivered this speech on internet censorship. Read the text and listen to the remarks on the WSWS.
    World Socialist Web Site |
    Articles: Copyright © 2017, All rights reserved.

    #DeathtoUncleToms (Margaret Kimberley)

    Some Tweets from journalist Margaret Kimberley:

    1. Black mayor defends police assault on black teen.
    2. Graduation cap with natural hair? A brilliant yet simple solution. Brava!
    3.   Retweeted
      Replying to 
      And getting his ass kissed by journos and "centrist" Dems, no matter how horrid his policies.
    4. is calling Vladimir Putin "an evil man." He's just mad that Putin will outlive him.
    5. dropped bombs on Vietnam. That means he was killing people. He got caught and got his ass whipped. He made a political career out of killing people and getting his ass whipped.
    6.   Retweeted
      First they get a black police commissioner, Richard Ross, to justify the arrest of two black men at Starbucks. Now they get a black mayor, AJ Connors, to justify the chokehold of a black teenager at Waffle House. Same predictable playbook. Same injustice.
    7.   Retweeted
      Replying to 
      Surprising that it's even a news story. Skirting US airspace & measuring time to intercept has been happening for decades. It's another faux-news story with the sole purpose of inciting fear in the masses.
    8. Russian planes near Alaska!!! But as Sarah Palin told us, Russia borders Alaska. So no story here. None.
    9. Taking kids from parents happens to black Americans all the time. Black kids are also shot dead by the police. Tamir Rice for example. If is concerned about state terror inflicted upon families she doesn't have to go to Russia.
    10.   Retweeted
      Why discuss 'free press' when acts on orders of local gov. to disseminate smears on those opposing the official line? 3/4 hour after I'd left mtg. at which I was told 'Media on Trial' cancelled 's article was published. Collusion?
    11.   Retweeted
      We must stand firm against the assumption by the warmongers of both parties who assume that the people will follow them in a criminal and insane war with Iran. This is why we need a new anti-war movement. Support Black Alliance for Peace today:
    12.   Retweeted
      This should not be allowed to be swept under the rug. If we can't speak freely without being beaten up, jailed, abused by our so-called 'civilian police' then stop calling this a Free Country. Has anyone on the Corp Media interviewed Ray McGovern?? I don't watch it so wondering
    13. was released from jail. He was assaulted and arrested by Capitol Hill police after questioning CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel at her confirmation hearing.
    14.   Retweeted
      Britain's racist immigration laws can't be seen in isolation. The crimes against black people go back centuries. Here's my take in
    15.   Retweeted
      More of this needs to happen across the United States, the belly of the largest empire in human history.
    16.   Retweeted
      For the 4th week in a row, Phily activists protest the Philly Orchestra’s upcoming trip to Israel, which includes a "VIP visit to an IDF military base" - the same IDF that killed 42 and injured over 5,000 Palestinians in the last month.
    17.   Retweeted
    18.   Retweeted
      Replying to  
      Kaepernick will be remembered as one of the greatest humanitarians in this nation and White people will pretend they always loved him like they do Ali.