Presence of tribal leaders boosts engagement

Voter turnout and enthusiasm varies at polling centers in southern Baghdad

BAGHDAD, December 18 — Voter turnout varied at polling centers in Hor Rajab and Al-Adwaniyah, south of Baghdad, on Monday, with a number of candidates actively encouraging supporters to vote in a coordinated manner and aiming to influence undecided voters.

Speaking to 964, voter Abu Mohammed Al-Saadi observed contrasting turnout at two local school centers. “The Al-Moeina school center experienced high voter turnout, in contrast to the Al-Taqwa school center, which saw limited participation,” he noted.

The discrepancy was partly due to most candidates hailing from the region voting at the Al-Moeina center.

Al-Saadi also mentioned the early and influential presence of tribal leaders, which seemed to boost voter engagement at certain centers.

Meanwhile, supporters of various other candidates were seen assembling outside the polling centers, some attempting to enter en masse. The strategy was part of an effort to showcase their candidate’s popularity and sway the decisions of other voters at the site.

Ahmed Hammam, a monitor at the At-Taqwa school center, reported a different scenario. “The turnout at our center was relatively low, with the majority of those present being election monitors representing different political groups and candidates,” he said.

Hammam anticipated a further decline in voter numbers as the day progressed, observing that those eager to vote usually do so early. He also confirmed that there were no violations or technical issues at their center.