• More than a year after the federal elections of 2018, Iraq’s ethno-sectarian political system and the increased fragmentation of the spectrum of political parties still hamper any attempt to form a government and implement broader staffing policies.
• Under the new government, however, there is unlikely to be any substantial attempt to address the ethno-sectarian proportional system or issues around federalization. This is because no majority for such reforms could be created.
• Popular demands, as well as the structure of the party system, have largely centered around issues of security and demilitarisation, reconstruction, and the lack of public services in the aftermath of the fight against ISIS.
• Before and after the election, the sectarian divide within Iraq remains the dominant driver of voting decisions. That said, a more nationalistic rhetoric has been invoked by the parties and rewarded by voters.
• Leading political players have distanced themselves from foreign influence. This is due to a growing popular aversion to foreign intervention. Despite this, Iranian influence in Iraq will remain strong due to political, security-related, and economic dependencies.