ASIA/IRAQ - Elections, the "Babylon Movement" obtains 4 of the 5 seats reserved for Christian candidates

Tuesday, 12 October 2021 middle east   oriental churches   elections   democracy   sectaniarism   geopolitics   shi'ites  

Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) - The Iraqi parliamentary elections held on Sunday, October 10 have assigned representatives of the "Babylon Movement" up to 4 of the five seats reserved for Christian candidates by the national electoral system. This is reported by local sources consulted by Agenzia Fides, on the basis of the first data provided by the High Electoral Commission. According to the same sources, the fifth seat, assigned in the Erbil district, has been assigned to the independent candidate Farouk Hanna Atto. The electoral result regarding the number of seats reserved for Christian candidates, somewhat surprising, will not cease to reignite the controversy about the possible political manipulation to which the allocation of seats in Parliament reserved for local Christians or belonging to other ethnic and religious minorities members of the communities seems to be exposed.
The Babylon Movement (in the photo, the manifesto of its candidates) was born as the political projection of the so-called "Babylon Brigades", an armed militia formed in the context of military operations against the jihadists of the Islamic State (Daesh) that led to the reconquest of areas of northern Iraq that had fallen into the hands of jihadists in 2014. Led by Ryan al Kildani (Ryan "the Chaldean"), the "Babylonian Brigades" had always claimed to be a Christian militia, although it connection to pro-Iranian Shiite militias such as the Popular Protection Units (Hashd al Shaabi) was documented. The political acronym of the "Babylon Movement" is also considered close to the "Badr Organization", a political movement that, in the elections, merged with the Fatah Alliance, a cartel that grouped the acronyms and pro-Iranian Shiite organizations.
In the first critical comments, Christian politicians belonging to unions that have not obtained seats cast suspicions on the electoral result, suggesting that the votes of Shiite voters had also been diverted towards the candidates of the "Babylon Movement", so as to place in the seats reserved for Christians, representatives who in fact respond to Shiite political formations. Likewise, according to some commentators, the Christian candidate Farouq Hanna Atto, elected as an independent for the Christian seat of the Erbil district, would have prevailed over his competitors thanks to the votes cast in his favor by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (PDK).
According to the first provisional data provided by the Electoral Commission, the Babylonian Movement candidate, Aswan Salem, appears to have won the seat reserved for Christians in the Nineveh Governorate with 9,498 votes. The seat reserved for Christian candidates in the city of Baghdad appears to have been won by Evan Faeq Yakoub Jabro, former Minister of Refugees and Migration in the outgoing government of Mustafa al Kadhimi, with 10,822 votes. In Kirkuk and Dohuk, the Babylonian Movement candidates Duraid Jamil and Badaa Khader have prevailed over the others with 4,279 and 10,619 votes respectively, while candidate Farouk Hanna Atto appears to win the Christian seat in the Erbil constituency with 4221 votes.
The official data released so far on the election results do not yet offer a clear picture of the future political scene in Iraq. No single political bloc will be able to control the majority of the 329 seats in Parliament alone. Various sources confirm the growth of the Sadr Party, led by the Shiite leader Muqtada al Sadr, who controlled 58 seats in the previous parliament and should have obtained at least 70 in the next parliamentary assembly. On the other hand, the parliamentary representation of the pro-Iranian Shiite parties, which are part of the Fatah Alliance, which had 48 seats in the previous parliament, is said to be declining.
Only 41% of those with the right to vote have gone to the polls, the lowest number of the six parliamentary elections held in Iraq since 2003, after the end of Saddam Hussein's regime. The elections, scheduled for 2022, had been brought forward after popular protests in the fall of 2019 showed widespread discontent with the entire Iraqi political leadership, accused of corruption and mismanagement. The elections were held in a climate of general apathy, marked by calls for a boycott, also by groups involved in the popular anti-system mobilizations of 2019. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 12/10/2021)

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