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Iraqis protest is symptom of embedded corruption


Hospital fires and electricity cuts have prompted angry protests, and many Iraqis see government corruption and mismanagement as the root of their suffering.

For many Iraqis, it has been a summer of tragedy. Fire tore through the COVID-19 isolation ward at a hospital in the southern city of Nasiriya, killing 60 people just months after a similar fire in a Baghdad hospital intensive care unit killed 82 COVID-19 patients.

The summer also saw temperatures rising above 120 degrees farenheit at a time when the government is failing to provide the electricity needed for people to cope. An election – Iraq’s sixth since the US-led invasion in 2003 – is imminent but, despite these failures sparking angry protests during the scorching-hot summer, many Iraqis do not see voting as a way to bring about change. Many even call for a boycott of the election.

Turnout in the December 2005 election was about 80 per cent, and only an estimated 30 per cent of eligible voters turned out in the last election in 2018. Many expect this figure to be even lower this year – but why are many Iraqis walking away from these elections despite their anger toward the current government?

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