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Iraqi Protest Groups Keen on Participating in Upcoming Elections

Iraqi Protest Groups Keen on Participating in Upcoming Elections

Wednesday, 13 January, 2021 - 08:45
An Iraqi woman updating her personal information at the election commission office in Nasiriyah (AFP)

Despite differences dividing the ranks of anti-government protestors in Iraq, many parties affiliated with the Levantine country’s “October Revolution” have voiced their enthusiasm about participating in upcoming general elections slotted for June.

In October 2019, a series of protests that consist of demonstrations, marches, sit-ins, and civil disobedience erupted and spread over the central and southern provinces of Iraq. They were mainly driven by corruption, unemployment, and inefficient public services.

Today, around nine groups involved in the protests have taken concrete steps, such as getting registered as an electoral coalition or political entity, in order to participate in parliamentary elections.

“A large portion of October Revolution youth have come to believe in political work, especially if the conditions for its success are met,” Secretary-General of the Association of Independent Protests Ammar al-Nuaimi told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Even though some have expressed pessimism towards protesters actually being able to defeat parties and militias that dominate the Iraqi state and its institutions, many believe that they are capable of competing in upcoming ballot vote.

Nuaimi went on to complain about the electoral commission trying to obstruct the registration of groups affiliated with the protests in its lists.

“It refused to register us under the flimsy pretext of practicing violence,” he said about his group, named “Taking My Right,” attempting to enroll for the vote.

Nuaimi, however, predicted that their registration will soon get approval after having met specific conditions.

The lead activist also defended protest groups linked to the October Revolution against accusations of them receiving foreign funding.

“All our sources of funding are simple and well-known, and they are composed of people who support the October Revolution,” Nuaimi said.

“These simple donations have continued with our shift to political work, and they hardly meet the funds we need in terms of paying workplace wages and so on,” he added.

“The real problem is that most of the factions and parties of the authority receive huge sums of money from well-known foreign parties for years, but no one has held them accountable,” he explained.

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