Iraq’s independent electoral body announced this week that there were no significant changes to the number of parliamentary seats following the recount of May’s election. This included those of the Kurdish political parties, which after national outcry, demanded a manual recount of the votes. Kurdish parties were up in arms claiming that fraudulent voting practices had taken place.

In the disputed territory of Kirkuk, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)  locked down six seats, the Turkmen and the Arab Alliance took three seats each. These are the exact same results as before the recount. While Kirkuk is controlled almost entirely by Iraqi paramilitary forces, many Kurdish officials still hold positions in local government and are supported by the populace. This is likely due to the support developed by the Peshemrga during their brief occupation of the city. Not only did the Kurds run the region fairly, they defended it and the people in it from the Islamic State when the Iraqi army fled.

Similarly, in Erbil and Sulaymaniyah, northern Iraq’s and the Kurdistan’s largest cities, the numbers were left unchanged. In Erbil, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) earned eight seats while the PUK obtained two. Erbil has historically been a KDP stronghold. On the other hand, Sulaymaniyah is where the PUK keeps its headquarters and they obtained eight seats with the KDP only earning one. There were other parties that garnered a small number of seats throughout the various regions as well, however, the big players have been and will be the PUK and KDP.

The winner of the majority parliament seats was the Sayirun Alliance headed by Muqtada al-Sadr, the same Sadr who ran the Mahdi Army back during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Sayirun Alliance kept their 54 seats, the same as the first count, and have already been hard at work influencing new government policies in Iraq. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi won 42, Hadi al-Amiri got 47, and former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki kept 26 seats; all three have been big players in the Iraqi government over the last few years.

Featured image: Inside of the Baghdad Convention Center, where the Council of Representatives of Iraq meets. This photo shows delegates from all over Iraq convening for the Iraqi National Conference. | By James Gordon [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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