An Iraqi voters displays the ink stained finger that indicates she voted. This year there will be fewer ink-stained fingers and more digital technology. (photo: كرس هندروس \ جيتي)
No Camp Visitors: Election Campaigners Ignore The Iraqis Most Desperate To Vote
Those Iraqis still languishing in camps for the displaced in Anbar are angry: They believe that campaigning politicians are ignoring them deliberately and that they won’t have a voice in upcoming elections. Read more here.
Battle Of Baghdad: Iraq’s Capital Presents Politicians With Greatest Challenge
With a wide variety of demographic groups in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad is a true testing ground for election campaigners. Read more here.
An Explosive Mixture: In Kirkuk, Vote-Hungry Politicians Play With Ethnic Fire
Kirkuk is often described as a dangerous flashpoint because of its demographics. That volatile mix is now playing out in election campaigning with leaders using ethnicity and antipathy to get votes. Read more here.
Fortune Telling: A Bad Result In Iraqi Election Could Endanger Kurdish Regional Election
In northern Iraq, Kurdish politicians are using the federal elections as a rehearsal for regional ones. If they like the results, they’ll hold a local vote. If not, elections in Iraqi Kurdistan may be postponed again. Read more here.
They Don’t Need Another Hero: No Election Front Runners In Basra
Two words sum up the electorate in the southern Iraqi province of Basra: Divided and undecided. It’s an unusual situation in an often-politically-cohesive province. Read more here.
Arab Troll Farms? Tracking Down The Iraqis Behind Their Country’s Fake News Epidemic
As Iraqi elections near, the epidemic of disturbing and divisive fake news on local social media only gets worse. But who exactly is behind it? And are they motivated by profit, popularity or a political agenda? Read more here.
Facebook With An Agenda: Hunting For Troll Farms In Northern Iraq
In Iraqi Kurdistan, as many as a dozen different Facebook pages, all with hundreds of thousands of followers, coordinate their fake news. And wealthy political candidates are likely paying for the service. Read more here.
Bring It On, Haters: In Northern Iraq, Election Campaigning Takes A Divisive Turn
In the past, there were parades and parties. But this month, in Iraqi Kurdistan, election campaigning has been all about insults, accusations and attack ads. Social media is one of the reasons why. Read more here.
Defamed + Dishonoured: Why Iraqi Politicians’ Sex Tapes Don’t Matter
Whether the pornographic videos being used to defame female candidates in Iraq’s elections are real or not, doesn’t matter. What matters is what the campaigns against women really say about Iraq. Read more here.
The Grey Zone: Iraqi Kurdistan’s Undecided Voters Will Decide Election Winners
Given levels of voter apathy in Iraqi Kurdistan, turnout for elections is expected to be low. Which will make undecided voters all the more important, observers say. Read more here.
An Iraqi Dream: ‘If Election Campaigning Lasted All Year, All The Streets Would Be Paved’
In Anbar, locals are benefitting from election campaigning, financially and socially, as would-be-MPs do everything within their power to satisfy voters’ wishes. Read more here.
Election Campaigning: A Plague Of Posters On All Of Baghdad’s Houses
As soon as election campaign posters went up in Baghdad this week, locals were tearing them down - as well as using them to make critical videos for social media. Read more here.
Political Review As Iraqi Parliament Winds Up, The Report Card: All Talk, No Action
After four eventful years, Iraq’s parliament will end its term on April 30. The main hallmarks: absentee MPs, a lot more press conferences and lack of progress on any laws that could benefit ordinary Iraqis. Read more here.
A Northern Sunset: Kurdish Politicians Will Be Weaker Than Ever In Baghdad, No Matter What Happens
In the past, Iraqi Kurdish politicians held much sway in Baghdad’s parliament. That definitely won’t be the case after these elections. Read more here.
Carbon Copies: Are Anbar’s New Election Candidates Really ‘New’?
In Anbar, there are a lot of new names running for office. But, as locals say, those who ally with the old names have already lost. Read more here.
My First Election: Anbar’s Youngest Voters Torn Between Hope, Fear And Family Permission
In Anbar, thousands of young voters will be eligible to participate in upcoming elections for the first time. Their attitudes? A mix of the deepest pessimism and hopeful enthusiasm. Read more here.
Independent Candidates: In Southern Iraq, A Trend For Electing The Creative Class
In Basra, writers, journalists and other creatives are running for election. Many are independents and say they want to change the Iraqi status quo. Their critics are not so sure they can. Read more here.
Policies Or Ethnicity? In Baghdad, Kurdish Voters Likely To Ignore Kurdish MPs
To run or not to run for election in Baghdad, that is the question for Kurdish politicians. Some MPs say the capital is political suicide for Kurdish candidates while others say there's a secret to winning here. Read more here.
Real Democracy? Iraqi Politicians Debate Changing System That Kept Parliament Peaceful For Years
Iraq’s democracy doesn’t work like others. It's based on a quota system that says offices will be distributed between sectors of the population. Politicians are debating whether it’s time for a real change. Read more here.
An Unusual Idea: Iraqi PM To Campaign In Kurdistan Too, But His First Move Falls Flat
The Iraqi PM has joined other Arab parties and will campaign in Iraqi Kurdistan, where Arabs don’t usually get a lot of votes. But one of the moves that might have gained Kurdish support has backfired already. Read more here.
Early Electioneering: Critics Say Politicians Who Join Protests In Iraqi Kurdistan Cause Violence
The presence of political candidates among recent popular protests in Iraqi Kurdistan has been noted. Some say the candidates are there to start campaigning too early, others say they’re just trouble makers. Read more here.
Broken Promises: What Have Kurdish Politicians Done For Voters Lately?
As elections near again, Iraqi Kurdish voters are assessing what politicians promised during the last ballot and what they delivered - and whether that even matters in Iraqi Kurdistan. Read more here.
One Love? Iraqi Christian Politics Just As Divided + Messy As The Rest
This coming election in Iraq will be marked by political divisions. A closer look at local Christian parties shows that even this once-united block is splitting, as different groups ally with Iraq’s bigger parties. Read more here.
All For Show: Anbar Locals Criticise Uncoordinated, Propaganda-Happy Reconstruction Efforts
The authorities are spending a lot of money on reconstruction in the Anbar province. But locals are complaining, saying basic needs are not being fulfilled and the rest is just window dressing. Read more here.
Sex Sells: Pre-Elections, A Distracting Debate On Banning Porn In Iraqi Kurdistan
One might assume that the long-stalled Kurdish parliament would have other things to talk about: One of the most pressing issues up for debate revolves around banning porn websites. Read more here.
Caught Between A Militia And Extremists: Diyala Politics Get More Complicated In Election Run-Up
Locals in Diyala, a province with a mixed population of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, are facing a complicated mixture of politicians to vote for, now that parties no longer adhere to their ethnic or sectarian group. Read more here.
Boy Power: In Conservative Tribal Societies, Iraqi Men Still Vote On Behalf Of Female Relatives
With more female candidates and better education for girls, as well as a new electronic voting system, will women in conservative Iraqi society finally get to cast their own vote? Read more here.
Establishing A Foothold: Iraqi Political Party Hopes To Capitalize On Kurdish Political Angst
Opening another office in Iraqi Kurdistan is a good decision for the newly formed National Wisdom party. Even though they are Arab and may only get a few votes there, it makes for great optics, no matter what. Read more here.
Party Politics: In Run Up To Elections, Kirkuk More Divided Than Ever
In the past Kirkuk’s different ethnic groups would unite to compete in elections. But after a tumultuous few months, things are very different this year. Read more here.
Apathy, Distrust + Reconstruction: Many Anbar Locals Have Given Up On Iraqi Politics, Won’t Vote
Scarred by elections past, despondent about the state of their hometowns and distrustful of candidates, Anbar voters wonder why they should even bother with upcoming elections. Read more here.
Abadi or Maliki? Iraqi Kurdish Politicians Won’t Place Bets Until After Elections
Who would be the best prime minister to advance Kurdish interests in Iraq? This is the question Iraq’s Kurdish politicians are asking themselves, as elections approach and backroom deals are being done. Read more here.
Change We Can Believe In? Major Religious Group Allies With Iraq’s Communists, For Election Shake-Up
A surprising electoral alliance between one of Iraq’s most controversial religious leaders, Muqtada al-Sadr, and local Communists has serious political and historical ramifications. Read more here.
Reality Versus The Rules: Kurdish Parties Bend Iraq's Electoral Rules On Politics With Guns
In Iraq, there has been plenty of fuss about politicians with armed militias running for office. In Iraqi Kurdistan, the biggest political parties have had their own loyalist troops for years. Read more here.
After Extremism: In Salahaddin, Election Focus on Iraqi Nationalism And Secular Society
In Salahaddin, preparations for elections are messy, with shifting allegiances and many voters displaced. As a result it is particularly hard to tell who might win here. Read more here.
Civil / Secular: Voters Against Mixing Religion + Politics In Karbala, One Of Iraq’s Holiest Cities
Even in one of Iraq’s most religious cities, a backlash against religion in politics has started. Whether it has any impact on the elections is another question though. Read more here.
Hoping History Repeats: Sunni Political Alliances For Election Only Offer More Of Same
Sunni Muslim politicians’ alliances in the run up to May’s federal elections presented no great surprises. Will they satisfy the voters’ desire for change though? Read more here.
Votes With Guns: Politicians Raise Fears About Militias’ Impact On Iraqi Elections
There are ongoing concerns that Iraq’s militias, seen by many locals as heroes after fighting extremists, will not put down their guns and will have undue influence on upcoming elections. Read more here.
An Unholy Union? The Still-Born Political Alliance That Casts Doubt On Iraq’s Popular PM
Iraq’s popular prime minister had long been critical of the often-controversial Shiite Muslim militias. But last week he formed a short-lived alliance with them to compete in general elections. What went wrong? Read more here.
No Trust: Kurdish Opposition Politicians Ask Baghdad To Supervise Kurdish Elections
Elections will be held in May 2018 in Iraqi Kurdistan. Opposition politicians say the outdated electoral rolls could influence the outcome though – so they’re asking Baghdad to step in. Read more here.
Promising Alliance: Kurdish Political Heavyweight Announces Plan To Shake Up Local Voters
If people in Iraqi Kurdistan are not talking about the referendum on independence then they are discussing the arrival of new political alliance with the potential to change the Kurdish political landscape. Read more here.
Uneasy Alliance: Iran Tries To Ensure Iraqi Leadership Remains Loyal
Iran wants to reunite the fighting Shiite Muslim political parties in Iraq that once gave it unconditional support. But that job is far from easy. Read more here.
One Thing In Common: Iraq’s New Electoral Law To Sideline Small Opposition Parties
In Iraq, larger political parties disagree on everything except maintaining the status quo: Parliament just passed a law that will badly affect the smaller parties competing in the next elections. Read more here.
Trojan Horse Or Treasure? The Cross-Sectarian, King-Making Alliance Planned For Next Iraqi Elections
One of Iraq’s most powerful political groupings, the Sadrist movement, is trying to form a new alliance that may unite secular, Sunni and Kurdish parties. It would be a first for Iraq. But it could also be a trap. Read more here.
Voting Laws: Making Up The Rules As They Go Along, In Time For Next Elections
Even though Iraq is unlikely to hold any elections this year, local politicians are getting ready to fight for votes, starting by trying to amend electoral legislation – all in their own favour of course. Read more here.
Gaming The Voters? In Baghdad, Formerly Religious Politicians Hedge Bets, Start Secular Parties
Iraqi politicians, who usually play on religious affiliations, are starting new organisations with a more secular message. But do they mean it, or are they just paying lip service to angry voters? Read more here.
Shooting For Political Stardom: Iraq’s Controversial Militias Fail To Agree On Unified Electoral Positions
Iraq’s militias have political ambitions and everybody knows it. But recent attempts to form a united front for the next elections have failed; some fear the disagreements could lead to violence. Read more here.