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Low turnout in Iraqi elections as Muqtada al-Sadr appears to be kingmaker

SUPPORTERS of Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr topped the poll in Sunday’s Iraqi general election, which was marked by a low turnout.

Just 41 per cent of the 25 million eligible voters participated in the election, which took place ahead of schedule as one of the key demands of the protest movement.

Nonetheless, the Iraqi Communist Party and others called for a boycott, arguing that participation would legitimise the country’s corrupt parliament and broken political system.

A youth-led revolt known as the Tishreen (October) uprising erupted in October 2019, fuelled by anger at a lack of jobs and public services and a deepening economic crisis.

Security forces and armed militia put down the protests, killing at least 700 people and injuring 30,000, and kidnappings and assassination attempts continue.

Young demonstrator Haider Zamili was killed during the final hours of campaigning on Sunday, with his body found in a river.

Activists blamed the authorities for his death, although no details were given by the security forces.

The Communist Party warned that blocking the path to peaceful and democratic change would deepen the political crisis and push the country closer to the abyss.

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