Iraq. The tours around the Iraq elections were many and complicated. Even towards the end of the year, not all pieces were in place. On May 12, what was to be the first parliamentary election following the victory over the Islamic State (IS). About 24.5 million registered voters voted for 329 members of parliament who would then form government and elect prime minister and president. Nearly 7,000 candidates lined up. Of these, just over 2,000 were women. According to the polls, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was good. But when over half of the votes were counted, Muqtada led al-Sadr’s coalition, which was seen as a surprising comeback for the nationalist Shiite minister. In second place was the Shiite military commander Hadi al-Amiri’s alliance and in the third the incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s coalition. About a week after the election, al-Sadr’s coalition was named victorious by the country’s electoral commission. None of the three major blocs had gained their own majority, but al-Sadr’s coalition had gained the most seats in parliament. According to the constitution, a new government is to be formed within 90 days. Since al-Sadr did not stand in the election for the Prime Minister’s post, he could not get it, but he could appoint someone else. Voter turnout was the lowest since the fall of dictator Saddam Hussein, 44.5%.
In June, the message came from the country’s highest court that the nearly 11 million votes from the election would be recalculated because of suspected election fraud. Later, five Iraqi officials were brought to trial, suspected of electoral fraud and voting. Following these and other allegations of corruption, the Supreme Court decided to replace Iraq’s election commission with independent judges.
According to Countryaah.com, Baghdad is the capital city of Iraq, a country located in Western Asia. The counting of votes was not complete until August. Only then could the country’s highest court ratify the election result: Shiite minister Muqtada al-Sadr’s alliance Saairun (Forward) took home the victory in the May 12 election, but in order to gain a majority, he was forced into talks with other groups such as incumbent President Haider al-Abadis al -Nasr (Victory).
In early October, the parliament voted by a large majority to elect Kurdish presidential candidate Barham Salih as new president – 219 votes against 22 for Fuad Hussein. Salih then proposed Shia Muslim Adil Abd al-Mahdi as new prime minister. He took office on October 25. By the end of the month, 14 new ministers had been approved by Parliament, including foreign, finance and oil ministers – but not important posts such as the Minister of Defense and Home Affairs. Iraq’s political system is structured so that no group can dominate – the Speaker is normally Arab Sunni Muslim, Prime Minister Arab Shia Muslim while the President is Kurdish; he has basically just a ceremonial function, except in the formation of the government itself. Even in December, five posts were not added to the government.
For the first time since 2016, Turkey carried out an extensive offensive against Kurdish guerrilla movements on the Iraqi side of the border between the two countries during the year. In early February, Turkish fighter aircraft attacked 19 PKK targets, and in March the Kurdish YPG guerrillas. In June, attacks were repeated against targets inside Iraq, this time PKK moorings in the Sinjar and Qandil mountains.
Although then-Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, on December 9, 2017, proclaimed victory in the three-year war against IS, northern Iraq has been hit by the terrorist organization with several assassinations and assassinations. According to analysts, there are signs that former IS members have regrouped in the Hamrin Mountains in northeastern Iraq. In March, for example, at least 25 people, both civilian and government soldiers, were killed in Kirkuk by IS warriors dressed as soldiers, and in Mosul, seven people were killed in a similar attack. At least 38 people died in January in two suicide attacks, probably carried out by IS, in the capital Baghdad.
During the summer, a series of popular protests started, which would last well into the fall. In July, protesters stormed the provincial government’s building in the city of Karbala, and in Basra, dozens of protesters were injured in clashes with police. It is dissatisfaction with the corruption and the lack of community service, the lack of food, water, electricity and work, that made the protests start and spread. In Basra, protesters blocked access to important oil fields to put pressure on the authorities. The protesters were supported by the country’s highest Shiite spiritual leader, the great Ayatollan Ali as-Sistani, who believes the lack of community service is extreme, including lack of electricity in the pressing summer heat.
Nadia Murad was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October. She was one of several thousand young Yazid women captured by the IS terrorist group in Iraq in 2014. She was subjected to sexual violence and torture before she managed to escape. Large parts of her family were murdered.