Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Will Baathism Bring Out The Votes In The March Election?

The spokesman for the chairman of the Accountability and Justice Commission Ahmad Chalabi who just presided over the banning of hundreds of candidates from Iraq’s March 2010 elections told the Los Angeles Times that the anti-Baathist campaign would motivate people to vote. The spokesman and Chalabi are both hoping so since they are running as candidates for the National Alliance. It’s an open question how the current Baathist hysteria will affect the Iraqi public however. On February 15 for example, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki traveled to the southern province of Babil where he gave a speech warning parties not to cooperate with Baathists because they had killed Iraqis and were trying to infiltrate the state. Afterward, some citizens seemed to dismiss his trip and comments as just election campaigning.

The Baathist issue may be the only thing the two main Shiite parties, Maliki’s State of Law and the National Alliance, run on this year. AK News reported that election posters are being plastered all over Baghdad, but none of them say anything about the candidates or their positions. In just a few weeks everyone will know how affective the focus upon Baathists instead of issues will play when Iraqis head to the polls. Voting in the Shiite south already took a drop from 2005 to 2009. The National Alliance and State of Law trying to out do each other on how tough they can be on former regime members may in fact lead to another decline in voter turnout since the Shiite parties aren’t talking about anything that’s really affecting people’s futures.

SOURCES

AK News, “Electoral programs are limited with pictures and banners without any clear programs,” 2/16/10

Alsumaria, “Al Maliki warns against external interference in Iraq,” 2/15/10

Sly, Liz, “Anti-Baath campaign a spur to Iraq Shiite voters,” Los Angeles Times, 2/12/10

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