Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change
IWPR workshop in Sadr City raising awareness of the importance of democratic participation. (Photo: IWPR)
IWPR has launched a series of awareness workshops across six provinces of Iraq to encourage participation in parliamentary elections due to be held on May 12, 2018.
There have been calls, especially from among young people, for these polls to be boycotted due to widespread disappointment with the performance of current and previous governments.
IWPR will run 18 workshops across the provinces of Baghdad, Anbar, Diyala, Salauddine, Kirkuk and Nineveh to provide locals with facts about the upcoming polls and the importance of democratic participation.
The first three workshops took place in the marginalised areas of Adhamia, al-Sadr City and al-Mashahda districts in Baghdad province.
Baghdad resident Qussay Al-Dulaimi said that after attending an event, he felt much more hopeful about the coming elections.
“It is true that young people are frustrated and intend to boycott the elections, but IWPR should be thanked for helping change these misconceptions.”
In Sadr City, local resident Khawla Khalid Mahdi said that she realised it was now time to hold local officials to account.
“Although we in Sadr City feel really frustrated because we elected people who did not represent us fairly in parliament and did not change the city’s reality, we still insist that we will go to elections and change these faces,” she said. “Taking part in these elections, as far as I am concerned, are not only a right but also a religious duty.”
For his part Abdul Rahman Khamees, an 18-year-old from al-Mashahida, said, “I can’t describe how happy I am as this year I’ll be entitled to vote… I feel it will be one of the most important experiences that I will engage with in my life.”