On April 20th, 2013, Iraq will be holding political elections in 12 of Iraq’s 18 provinces. As a result of these upcoming elections, candidate’s posters and campaign advertisements have plastered the streets of Iraq. While this is not unusual for numerous amounts of signs and posters to fill the street, what is unusual about the campaign advertisements are the images and messages featured on them. Many are claiming that a majority of the messages are bizarre compared to the traditional message and conventional images usually portrayed in political posters. What many individuals in the community believe is that these posters are purposely bizarre based on the fact that the candidate supporting the poster is trying to increase voter’s attention through abstract or unusual methods of campaigning. (http://www.arabnews.com/news/446128)
While political elections and campaigning is fairly new to Iraq, based off the fact that Iraq prior to 2003 was under the rule of a dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, many new candidates are doing all that they can to make themselves look to be the perfect candidate. It wasn’t until 2003 when Saddam was forced out of power through military involvement led by the United States that political elections for government began to take place. Prior to this April 20th election, the last election for representatives of the Iraqi Parliament was in March of 2010.
While there are a numerous number of bizarre posters, two poster have been prominent and most widely spread. The first poster contains a picture of a female dressed in traditional Iraqi clothing with the caption in Arabic stating “Salam Kurdi Abbboud is dead”. The poster is claimed to ask voters to vote for Sauasen Abduladhaim Ahmed, who is the widow of Salam Kurdi Abboud and a member of the secular sunni party. However, what makes this poster bizarre is the fact that the female candidate (Sauasen Abduladhaim Ahmed) does not appear anywhere on the poster. The second major poster involves a current Member of Parliament (Aytab Al-Duri) satnding next to her husband with her hand over her heart. Underneath the two individuals Arab text reads “The candidate Karim Khalaf Mohammed Hussein is the husband of MP Dr. Aytab Al-Duri”. However, many claim this to be bizarre because no credentials or policies are expressed or associated with the poster; the candidate has simply made the connection to the voters with who his wife is. (http://www.arabnews.com/news/446128) The following are the two most promiement examples of the posters plastered around the provinces and one other popular poster found in Iraq:
Although many candidates believe that they are attracting voters through the use of these bizarre and unusual posters, many people of the voting public still see this as a political strategy and way for candidates to simply get elected. Many Iraqi’s have turned to social media to both bash as well as mock the candidates because majority of society has lost confidence in the electoral process as well as elected officials. Many individuals have stated that the electoral process has become too greedy and quote “these candidates want to create political families on the expense of the voters”. (http://gulftoday.ae/portal/e20f6414-8636-40d8-aacb-fde02e3967ce.aspx) On one source of social media, one candidate’s slogan has been the topic of conversation as well as the source of mockery. The slogan is featured in Arabic stating “My province comes first”, however, many have played on the fact that the word province in Arabic with one letter removed turns the word in wallet. Other candidates that have found themselves very popular in the social media realm have been the candidates that pose themselves with prominent figures of society. Many have bashed these individuals for attempting to prove their political connection, for example by linking themselves with Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki, when in reality majority of the candidates have not even met these figures or been supported by this individual. Through this spread on social media as well as society’s loss of confidence in politics, many have turned to spreading the word of corruption and state on these sources that candidates are only in it for themselves. Iraqi society has now reached a point where power and wealth are seen as the goal of political figures rather than the focus on helping individuals of society. (http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20130327158671)