Iraq plans to hold its elections on October 10, opening the door for frantic competition between the country’s political parties, which strive to win the largest number of seats in the parliament.

Iranian-backed parties have strong leverage in Iraq, especially among Shiite voters. The same parties get backing from the paramilitary group, Popular Mobilization Forces.

The forces support the parties and do everything possible so that they can win a large number of seats in the Iraqi parliament.

The elections will take place six months ahead of schedule under a new law aimed at offering support to independent candidates.

The elections will also take place a year after the outbreak of protests in Iraq’s southern cities against Iranian influence in the country.

Around 167 political parties are fielding candidates in the elections, according to the Independent Election Commission.

Growing rifts

The parliamentary elections divulge major rifts in Iraq, especially among Shiite parties.

They are pitting armed factions backed by Iran against others opposed to Iranian influence in Iraq.

The activists of the popular movement take a position against the pro-Iran parties. Some of the same activists have decided to boycott the elections.

The main rivalry remains between the Iran-backed factions, on one hand, and the faction of Shiite leader, Muqtada al-Sadr, who recently reversed a decision to boycott the elections, on the other.

Head of the Popular Mobilization Forces, Faleh al-Fayyad, announced the return to the forces by 30,000 fighters whose contracts came to an end in the past.

The return of these fighters to the ranks of the forces reveals preparations inside the militia for potential violence during and after the elections.

The militia is also apparently preparing to secure its interests in Iraq, along with the interests of Tehran, in the coming period.

The growing size of the militia sends, meanwhile, an implicit message to Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, who wants his government to take over the security file in Iraq altogether.

Source » theportal-center