Iraq has officially allowed campaigning to begin for the upcoming parliamentary elections on May 12.
(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Iraq has officially allowed campaigning to begin for the upcoming parliamentary elections on May 12.
Volunteer workers spread across Iraqi towns and cities from early Saturday to put up posters of around 7,000 candidates who will contest 329 parliamentary seats.
It will be Iraq’s fourth parliamentary and provincial assembly polls since the country ousted long-time dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003.
However, the start of the campaigning was marred by controversy as people were angry at aides pulling down pictures of fighters killed in the war on Daesh Takfiri terrorist group and replacing them with the pictures of candidates.
Iraq has managed to clear almost entire cities and towns of Daesh in a war that took more than three years and cost the oil-rich country much of its government finances.
Many killed in the battle were volunteer fighters who had joined the military upon a call by Iraq’s religious source of emulation.
People on the streets of Baghdad said it was a disgrace for election candidates to replace images of martyrs of the fight against Daesh, which had been on displays in the city and other major towns, with their own pictures.
“At midnight sharp, they began pulling down pictures of the martyrs and replaced them with posters of the thieves,” said Settar Tourki, a resident of the Iraqi capital.
Users of social media also reacted with anger to the controversial start of election campaigning, with Laith al-Shommari, a Facebook user, saying pulling down martyrs’ pictures was an “insult” to the memory of fighters “who have sacrificed their lives so that we can live in peace and security.”
The controversy about posters come as Iraqis hold a deep grudge against certain political parties whose lawmakers in the parliament have been accused of involvement in corruption. Many of those lawmakers are seeking a re-election in the upcoming vote, further deepening the public distrust.
“We should burn the electoral posters of all these cowards and opportunists,” said Shommari in reference to the candidates.