After the candidates have launched their electoral campaigns across the country, Iraqis are eager to participate in the parliamentary elections set to take place on the 12th of May.
Observers have noted that there has been a change in voter attitudes amongst Iraqis since the start to political campaigning on 11th April, 2018.
With less than 20 days remaining until the election is set to be held, some observers are predicting a significant turn-out at the polls. These elections not only represent the first post-ISIS election, but voters have become much more aware of the selection of candidates and their election pledges due to social media. “In my opinion, the participation at the polls will be massive at this stage,” said Muhsin al Bahadli, an Iraqi political analyst. “In previous elections, the Iraqi citizen was upset, but today he will go to vote”. Others such as Ali al-Fawaz, an Iraqi journalist, have shared the same sentiment. “Although 10-15 days ago, many citizens were counting on the fact that political participation does not change reality,” stated al-Fawaz. “However, it seems to me that now the size of the competition has motivated the citizen to seek change”.
While many citizens are eager to bring about change, other observers have noted that there is a strong force of Iraqis who are frustrated and are reluctant to vote and participate due to years of failed political experiments and unfulfilled promises. As a result, two types of citizens were created, those who are going to participate in order to change the political fray, and those who are reluctant of getting involved.
The feelings of despair and reluctance to participate in the elections are highest in the capital’s outskirts due to years of neglect, and the lack of security and services. “I expect that due to the events of the past 15 years, even a miracle will not change this reality,” said Falah al Mish’al, a writer and journalist.
Nonetheless, the number of voter registration centers have increased, indicating an expected higher participation in the elections, despite some mixed feelings towards the elections and ISIS’ threats to target polling stations throughout the country.