Tensions between the Iraqi government and the "Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF)" continue to run high as systematic kidnappings and assassinations by the Iran-backed militia remain unabated. This has pushed grassroots to call for boycotting the vote similar to what happened before the 2018 elections against the wishes of government politicians and parliamentarians who continue to sound the alarm over any potential deferral of the elections.
This paper attempts to anticipate future scenarios for the Iraqi elections based on the current situation in the country.
First Scenario: Postponing the Elections to April 2022
This scenario is based on the possibility of ignoring the idea of holding a snap election as demanded by popular protests and supported by top Shiite authority, Ali al-Sistani. Accordingly, the elections will be held on their constitutional date for many reasons that may be announced in the coming months, including the failure of Parliament to dissolve itself in accordance with Article 64 of the Constitution, which is the only constitutional way to hold early elections in Iraq. In sum, this means that the political blocs may agree to postpone the elections to achieve their political and economic goals, most notably:
Certainly, this scenario will have many repercussions that can be summarized as follows:
Second Scenario: Suspending the Constitution, Canceling the Elections, and Declaring a State of Emergency
This scenario may become a reality if the government fails to provide the appropriate security environment after postponing the elections to next year, for the following reasons:
This scenario will lead to dramatic changes in the country, including:
Third Scenario: Holding the Elections on Time (on October 10th, 2021)
This scenario is based on the assumption that elections will be held according to the new election law which increases the number of electoral districts and allows for direct individual nomination. So far, this appears to be the most likely scenario for the following reasons:
In light of the current political scene in Iraq, the withdrawal of the most prominent new electoral lists and independent figures, including the “Tayar al-Marhala” and “Al-Izdihar” and opposition MP Faeq Sheikh Ali, and the continuation of popular discontent with the current political class that controls the electoral districts and the Electoral Commission, and the absence of a real strong competitor, the implications of this scenario will be as follows:
According to this scenario, there may be a surprise in the election results at that time, and the repercussions of holding the elections on time may be different, as follows:
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