Eric Davis in The New Middle East: The Twilight of the Dictators: The End of Authoritarianism as We Know It in the Contemporary Middle East

On October 3rd, Iraq held parliamentary elections.  Although the results were not officially announced until October 17th, many analysts, both Iraqi and foreign, were quick to decry the results.  In particular, they pointed to the Shi’a cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s party to win an estimated 73 seats in Iraq’s 329 member parliament and the elections’ low turnout rate, between 38 and 41%.  However, were the elections really the failure that many analysts would have us believe?