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Iraqi elections deepen political fault lines amid U.S.–Iran tensions

Supporters of Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr celebrate the results of the parliamentary election at the Tahrir Square, Baghdad, Iraq, on May 13, 2018.
Supporters of Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr celebrate the results of the parliamentary election in Baghdad on May 13, 2018. Photo by Murtadha Sudani/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Turnout in the Iraqi election on Saturday hit a record low at less than 45%, down from 60% in the 2014 and 2010 elections. The public was disillusioned with the buffet of parties, whose members are seen as corrupt politicians vying for positions in a political bazaar after every election.

Why it matters: The product of ethno-sectarian power-sharing, past governments have been weak and ineffective. Iraqis wanted a new, corruption-free government that would offer services, jobs and security, and a victor with a clear agenda and a strong national mandate. Instead, this weekend’s elections only deepened the country's political fractures.