What were the primary concerns of Iraqis in the run-up to the election and who were the main protagonists contending for power? What does the outcome mean to both regional and international actors?
What does the election in Iraq say about the country’s political landscape?
On Saturday, May 12th, Iraq held its parliamentary elections to decide the 329 members of the body, which will serve as the basis for establishing a new government. While Nearly 7000 candidates and more than 200 parties were vying for votes, only 44 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots in the recent elections; a notably low figure given that, no election since the U.S-British invasion of 2003 has had a turnout below 60 percent.
To answer questions on this subject, Vomena’s Shahram Aghamir spoke with Loulouwa Al Rachid, who has been conducting research on Iraq and the Gulf region for the past 20 years. She argues that the elections highlighted the wide and dangerous gap between rulers and the ruled in Iraq by reflecting massive popular rejection of the post-Baath political order.
Loulouwa Al Rachid is a co-director of the Program on Civil-Military Relations in Arab States at the Carnegie Middle East Center. She is a political scientist by training, having earned her PhD from the Institut d’études politiques de Paris. Her work covered the erosion of authoritarianism and survival strategies in the final decade of Baath Party rule in Iraq, and she has spent the past twenty years researching the politics of Iraq and the Gulf region. Prior to joining the Carnegie Middle East Center, she was a senior Iraq analyst with the International Crisis Group and a consultant for numerous governmental institutions in France and Europe. Al Rachid has written several book chapters as well as peer-reviewed articles in Middle Eastern Studies, Maghreb-Machrek, A Contrario, Critique internationale, Tumultes, Politique Étrangère, and Politique Internationale. Her latest publication is L’Irak Après l’État Islamique: Une Victoire qui Change tout? (Institut Français des Relations Internationales, 2017). Twitter: @larachid