Iraq and Gulf Analysis

Archive for March 8th, 2010

IHEC Publishes Rates of Participation in the Parliamentary Elections

Posted by Reidar Visser on Monday, 8 March 2010 17:42

[Reporting on the results of the 7 March parliamentary elections will start as soon as IHEC or the leading NGOs start releasing data. Other estimates, leaks and even “exit polls” are of limited analytical value]

The figures of participation in the parliamentary elections just released by IHEC seem to suggest continued high participation in Kurdistan, but growing voter apathy and disillusionment elsewehere in Iraq, particularly south of Baghdad where the rates have fallen quite dramatically since December 2005.  At the same time, it should be noted that these  figures are not entirely unlike those of the local elections in January 2009 which enabled resounding wins for Nuri al-Maliki in Baghdad and Basra. A key question will be to what extent Maliki has managed to recoup votes south of Baghdad to make up for the loss of influence that was caused when the Sadrists and the Jaafari wing of the Daawa joined ISCI in the Iraqi National Alliance.

December 2005 January 2009 March 2010
Basra 74 48 57
Dhi Qar 72 50 60
Maysan 73 46 50
Muthanna 66 61 61
Qadisiyya 65 58 63
Babel 80 56 62
Najaf 73 55 61
Karbala 70 60 62
Wasit 68 54 60
Baghdad 70 ? 53
Anbar (IMIE: 86.4??)* 40 61
Diyala 75 57 62
Salahhadin (IMIE: 98.4??)* 65 73
Nineveh 70 60 66
Kirkuk 86 73
Sulimaniyya 84 73
Arbil 95 76
Dahuk 92 80

*The IMIE figures for Anbar and Salahaddin in 2005 seem somewhat high and cannot be confirmed at the time of writing. Numbers for exiled voting have also come through: The overall figure remains steady at around 270,000 but with considerable internal shifts, with the Iranian share reduced from some 56,000 in January 2005 to around 23,000 this time, and the Syrian share up from 15,000 to 42,000. Jordan remains stable at around 24,000; the UK figures have gone down compared to the US.

Meanwhile, claims and counter-claims continue to abound as to who won most votes. No attempt will be made to pursue the validity of these claims pending the release of some kind of official data (partial results possibly later this week); however it is interesting that State of Law and Iraqiyya are making the loudest claims about victories, whereas the Iraqi National Alliance (which together with Tawafuq and the Kurds are quite influential with IHEC) have been slightly more in the background. The key question going forward will be where those votes were won, i.e. whether Iraqiyya has been “Sunnified” or has been able to make inroads south of Baghdad, and vice-versa with respect to State of Law. It is this key question, rather than the number of bombs that exploded on election day, that will indicate whether Iraq has made progress from the sectarian climate of 2005 or whether the same old logic is essentially being reproduced albeit with a slightly more national-sounding rhetoric.

Posted in Iraq's 2010 parliamentary election, UIA dynamics | 13 Comments »