Boycott and threats from Sadrists blamed

Maliki’s State of Law addresses decline in Baghdad votes

BAGHDAD, December 21 — Jassim Mohammed Jaafar, a senior figure in Iraq’s State of Law Coalition, has attributed the coalition’s performance in Baghdad’s recent provincial council elections to a combination of voter intimidation by Sadrists and shrewd political maneuvering by rival parties.

In an interview with media personality Hisham Ali, Jaafar detailed the challenges faced by the coalition in key areas such as Sadr City and Al-Shula. He cited widespread reports of threats and security concerns, which he believes played a significant role in suppressing voter turnout in the traditional strongholds.

“Despite expectations, the State of Law Coalition did not see the anticipated success in Baghdad, primarily due to a significant Sadrist boycott and related security threats,” Jaafar stated. He referenced specific incidents, including the targeting of three polling stations with hand grenades, as indicative of the tense and hostile atmosphere on election day.

The coalition leader also acknowledged the strategic advantage gained by Sunni parties, particularly the Taqaddum Party of ousted Parliament Speaker Mohammad Al-Halbousi, amidst the electoral boycott. “They found a golden opportunity in the boycott and utilized it to the fullest, demonstrating a hundred percent political shrewdness,” Jaafar remarked.

Despite these challenges, Jaafar maintains that the State of Law Coalition remains a strong political force, citing its significant voter base in the capital and other governorates. The coalition’s analysis of the election results is ongoing, and Jaafar expressed confidence in the group’s future political endeavours.