Election campaigning kicks off across Iraq causing controversy
Campaigning for May 12 elections began across Iraq officially on Saturday and in the Kurdistan Region on Sunday because of the Anfal anniversary, with 329 seats available to fill in parliament.
Some candidates’ assistants began pulling down posters of people who fought and died during the war against ISIS to replace them with campaign posters showing photos of the candidates, sparking controversy.
"At midnight sharp, they began pulling down pictures of the martyrs and replaced them with posters of the thieves," one Baghdad resident, Settar Tourki, told AFP.
Social media came alive with many users crying foul as posters of the candidates, who many people call “thieves,” replaced the posters of some of the thousands who died fighting ISIS during their three-year conflict.
One Facebook user, Laith al-Shommari, called it an “insult” to the fighters "who have sacrificed their lives so that we can live in peace and security."
Some 7,000 candidates have registered to run in the elections, hoping to win a seat to represent their districts.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi will also be seeking to gain enough seats to return for second term.
Abadi’s party, the Victory Alliance, or “Nasr” Alliance, announced the opening of their office in the Kurdish city of Sulaimani on Saturday.
The May elections will be the fourth elections held since the fall of Baathist ruler Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Photos by AFP