Iraq elections
Security forces stand guard outside the Electoral Commission building while protesters denouncing election results and calling for a manual recount of the October 10 parliamentary vote gather in Basra, Iraq, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. Image Credit: AP

Cairo: The Iraqi government has pledged to protect diplomatic missions in the country, which is witnessing street protests against results of recent parliamentary elections.

Loyalists of blocs, which have fared poorly in the October 10 polls, have stepped up their protests in several parts of Iraq, including a sit-in near the Green Zone in Baghdad, which is home to foreign embassies.

“Objection to results of elections should be within the recognised legal procedures,” the government said in a statement following a meeting in Baghdad on Wednesday.

“The Iraqi government is committed to protecting the UN mission and other diplomatic missions working in the country from any threat and supporting them to undertake their assignments,” it added.

The election results showed that a bloc led by the populist Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr came first with 73 seats at the 329-strong parliament. Pro-Iran groups took a beating at the ballot box compared to their gains in the 2018 polls.

Independents, linked to anti-government protests that erupted in 2019 in Iraq, established a foothold in the new legislature winning 37 seats, according to preliminary results.

The election was held amid rife disenchantment among Iraqis with the political class and lack of essential services like electricity and water.