iraq votes 2014: kurdish couldn’t care less about general elections

While the rest of Iraq prepares for the general elections at the end of April, the semi-autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan seems far more focused on provincial elections. The reasons? Apart from shifts in power and influence internally, Iraqi Kurdish politicians in Baghdad may well be feeling as despondent as so many ordinary Iraqis. They fear Baghdad will never change and that they can have no real impact. by Hayman Hassan in Sulaymaniyah more

iraq votes 2014: special ballot for iraqi army causes concern

Two days before the rest of the country does, over one million members of Iraq’s military will vote in general elections. The questions are clear: Will the army simply be loyal to the current government? Or is there more ill will toward the Prime Minister now? And how will security problems in Anbar affect military voting? by Mustafa Habib in Baghdad more

iraq votes 2014: special needs iraqis campaigning for office – and for so much more

Iraq’s upcoming general elections are proving a worthy platform for sectors of local society that are not often heard from. Iraqis with special needs are running for office to get more help from the government and increase their visibility. Considering there’s an estimated 3 million disabled people in Iraq, their chances are good. by Mustafa Sadoun in Baghdad more

iraq votes 2014: campaign curfews in kirkuk due to rising ethnic tensions

Election campaigning in the multi-ethnic province of Kirkuk is causing tension in the disputed territory. Campaigners have come to blows, local police have put a curfew on electioneering and analysts warn of more bloodshed to come. After all, they say, in Kirkuk this isn’t just about getting elected. It’s about who really owns this troubled province. by Shalaw Mohammed in Kirkuk more

iraq votes 2104: ‘standing on the titanic’ – candidates’ posters become butt of jokes

Election campaign posters are telling cynical Iraqi voters nothing – there is barely any information on political aims or manifestos. So ordinary Iraqis are getting their own back with ridicule, sarcasm and some judicious photo shopping. by Kholoud Ramzi in Baghdad more

iraq votes 2014: election posters reveal hidden messages, new alliances, surprising strategies

Campaigning for Iraq’s elections started last week. Almost immediately the nation’s streets were covered in campaign posters. Now locals say reading between the posters’ lines it’s possible to discern hidden messages about new alliances, trends in candidature and the shifting political landscape as well as answer questions like: Why is everybody campaigning in Baghdad? And why are religious parties touting good looking, unveiled women as candidates? by Mustafa Habib in Baghdad more

iraq votes 2014: best laid enrolment plans wrecked by illegal trade in voting cards

In a bid to avoid election fraud and expedite voting, Iraqi authorities have distributed over 16 million special electronic voter ID cards. Despite what seems like a foolproof plan, the cards are apparently now being bought and sold for around US$200 each. Critics also point out they have been issued using incorrect, outdated electoral rolls. by Hayman Hassan in Sulaymaniyah more

iraq votes 2014: no plans, just accusations - and lots of posters - to win voter hearts and minds

Campaigning for Iraq’s general elections officially began this week on April 1. And several trends are already noticeable. The bigger the posters the better. Local politicians are doing a lot of door knocking. And nobody seems to want to share their constructive plans for the country’s future – they’re more interested in criticising their opponents. by Mustafa Habib in Baghdad more

murder of senior iraqi journalist sparks outrage and questions in local media

After the killing of a senior radio journalist in Baghdad last week, Iraqi journalists are calling for justice. They’re also questioning whether there really is freedom of the press in the country and asking why there is such a bad attitude toward media in the country, in general. by Mahmoud al-Mafraji in Baghdad more

a+ for effort: rigging education system to favour iraq’s shiite students

Iraq’s Ministry of Education has decided qualifications achieved by students who passed Shiite religious exams are equal to qualifications held by students who passed ordinary exams. Teachers are outraged; they say students will simply drop out and take the easier religious courses. And political analysts say it’s another way the Shiite Muslim led government is sidelining the country\'s Sunnis - as well as a way of ensuring Shiite political parties can staff government departments - where school leaving certificates are required - with their own sect. by Ibrahim al-Jibouri in Karbala more
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