Conflict and Fragility

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The New Iraqi Opposition

31 Aug 2023 - 09:47
Source: ©
The anti-establishment movement after the 2021 elections

At the start of Iraq’s longest government formation process in October 2021, one key question on everyone’s mind was whether Iraq might get its first majoritarian government. The Sadrist Movement tried for months, but ultimately Muqtada Al-Sadr conceded defeat by calling on his MPs to resign. The result was another consensus government with all the traditional political parties sharing the spoils, minus the Sadrists. A second key question on everyone’s mind was whether a genuine parliamentary opposition could develop in Iraq given the election of many independent MPs and the rise of reformist parties. This brief outlines the conditions needed for such a parliamentary opposition to emerge, discusses both technical and political elements, and analyses the challenges facing the ‘new Iraqi opposition’, i.e. veteran independent politicians, civil society activists and even former members of established parties. It argues that a sound electoral environment, unification of reformist parties and a higher turnout can contribute to making meaningful opposition a reality, which is needed to confront Iraq’s collusive democracy.

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