Iraq’s attempt to pick a new parliament this week was marked by record-low turnout and the re-election of many familiar faces. The polls opened early due to youth-led anti-government protests amid worsening economic conditions in 2019.

Though young people had called for the early elections, millions of them boycotted the polls this week to express their distrust in the system and its potential for reform.

This week, more than 3,000 candidates vied for some 329 positions, and for the first time one-quarter of seats were reserved for female candidates, as well as nine for minorities including Christians and Yazidis.

The party that wins the most seats will choose the country’s next prime minister, but without a clear winner, negotiations are expected to take months.

In this episode of The Stream, we’ll discuss what happens now that the polls are closed in Iraq and the votes are tallied. Will the results usher in change, or will sectarian divisions and dysfunction remain the law of the land? Join the conversation.

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