When Iraqi anti-establishment protesters took to the streets in Oct. 2019, their key demand was reform of Iraq’s post-2003 political system, which is based on ethno-sectarian quotas. Known as Muhasasa Ta’ifia in Arabic (ethno-sectarian apportionment), the ruling system has structurally failed to protect Iraqi living standards. Instead, various parties have held a firm grip onto power because of the apportionment system, which distributes power to political parties based on sect and ethnicity. Under these conditions, problematic patronage networks and corruption have become rampant.
Changing political landscape
Considered as the largest anti-government demonstrations to have taken place in Iraq following the US-led invasion in 2003, the demands which have been issued by protesters since Oct. 2019 have included calls for clean water and reliable electricity supply, improved employment opportunities, better public services, and an end to foreign interference—whether from Iran, Turkey or the US...
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