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Iraq’s top Shiite cleric calls for high voter turnout


Iraq’s top Shiite cleric calls for wide turnout in next month’s parliamentary elections

Iraqis will go to the polls on October 10 for a snap election characterized by widespread apathy and concerns over low voter turnout. The elections are taking place a year ahead of their scheduled date, in line with a key demand from protesters who took to the streets in October 2019 to demand change in the country, where corruption is rampant.

Al-Sistani said the elections should be kept away from outside interference and conducted in a “reassuring atmosphere” away from the influence of money and illegal weapons – an apparent reference to the powerful militias backed by the Iran who maintain a strong influence over Iraq.

In a statement released by his office on Wednesday, al-Sistani encouraged all eligible Iraqis to participate “in a conscious and responsible manner in the upcoming elections, although it is not without some shortcomings.”

He said the Iraqis should take this important opportunity to shape the future of their country and “bring about real change in the administration of the state and eliminate corrupt and incompetent hands.”

“Make a good choice, otherwise the failures of previous parliaments and the governments that emanate from them will be repeated,” he said, in a rare and blunt criticism of previous administrations.

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ABC News

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