Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Sermons and Security Aim to Assure Falluja Voters

By an IWPR-trained reporter in Falluja (ICR No. 282, 30-Jan-09)
Falluja has been destroyed many times in the recent conflict, so what its people want most are better services and more reconstruction work.

This Sunni Arab city, just west of Baghdad, wants a candidate who is keen on unifying Iraq, who will not attempt to divide the country. The people want someone who is not partisan, someone who will work towards their interests.

The mosques are urging people to vote, telling them they must leave their homes on election day. Nonetheless, there is a very real fear that voters or polling stations may be attacked.

Security is very tight here. Iraqi soldiers are everywhere on the streets near the polling stations. Many roads have been closed off. The media has been allowed to see two polling stations – no more than that.

The streets are festooned with posters. Private cars and taxis carry advertisements for candidates. Tribes have organised rallies and gatherings to promote particular parties.

However, most people don't really know whom to vote for. Many of the candidates are already in power – and the people don't want to re-elect them. So they hesitate. Some say it does not matter whom you vote for because the winner has already been determined.

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