Election-weary Kurdistan residents demand shortened campaign

Election-weary Kurdistan residents demand shortened campaign

As Iraq approaches its third month of uncertainty about the outcome of May's national vote, some residents of the Kurdistan Region are demanding an abbreviated campaign for candidates hoping to win seats in the next regional parliament. 

The region’s Independent High Elections and Referendum Commission (IHERC) has said it aims to shorten the time campaigning for the upcoming September 30 election is permitted from one month down to 10-15 days, but people are voicing their opinion that this is still excessive, especially since some political parties and candidates already appear to be actively stumping for votes.

“We had the Iraqi national election a few months ago, and soon Kurdistan will hold a parliamentary election," Sulaimani resident Shilan Babakr told Kurdistan 24 on Friday. "People are tired of election campaigns with posters and advertisements put on every street and corner of the region.”

In Iraq in general, and the Kurdistan Region in particular, as soon as an election campaign kicks off, candidates and parties plaster posters on what would seem to be every available surface, often covering up signs and crowding roadsides. Strings of multiple party flags are also hung across streets or from overpasses. 

“I believe a couple of days is more than enough for election campaigns because people in the Kurdistan Region have already decided whom they will vote for, regardless of what posters and slogans they may see,” said Najat Karim, a resident in Erbil.

In the runup to Iraq’s May 12 election, multiple violations were registered by the electoral commission as candidates displayed posters in public areas such as schools, universities, mosques, and religious shrines where campaigning is forbidden.

On Wednesday, IHERC extended  the time for candidates to register for the upcoming election after multiple parties failed to do so by the previous deadline.