Iraq: A Vote Against Sectarianism

Issue Date July 2010
Volume 21
Issue 3
Page Numbers 26-40
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In contrast to the 2005 Iraqi elections, where voters turned to their primordial loyalties, the results of the March 2010 elections raised hopes that sectarian concerns among voters might be giving way to more issue-oriented preferences. The two alliances that fought the elections on nationalist, non sectarian platforms won more than 55% of the votes, whereas the coalition of Shia parties received only 21% of the national vote. While “voter behavior” augers well for Iraq’s progress to democracy, deficits remain. The most disturbing of these became clear in the aftermath of the elections, when political leaders gave the impression that their commitment to democracy was contingent only on democracy serving their own interests.