Iraq’s PM uses activists as candidates for upcoming election

Iraq PM reels in activists, journalists as candidates for upcoming election
2 min read
01 July, 2021
Sources told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that members of Kadhimi’s team were coordinating with political activists, journalists, and protest movement leaders to start a liberal, secular campaign to oppose parties backed by the country’s militias.
Iraqi PM Mustafa Al-Kadhimi (seated at the head of the table) has devised a cross-interest campaign to help secure victory in the upcoming elections [Getty Images]

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s team is trying to get activists to run in the upcoming parliamentary elections, sources have told The New Arab’s Arabic-language service.

The sources from the Prime Minister's office said that three members of Kadhimi's team are coordinating with political activists, journalists, and protest movement leaders to start a liberal, secular campaign to oppose parties backed by the country's militias.

The meetings are being kept quiet to protect the potential candidates from targeting by militias, the sources said, as previously seen in Iraq. 

Prominent protest figures also told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that Kadhimi’s advisors were trying to get activists to participate in the elections. 

"Razzaq al-Haidari, leader of the Al-Fatih parliamentary bloc, said it was “expected” that Kadhimi’s team’s lobbying would work, but he questioned how campaigns would be funded"

Early elections were one of the demands pro-democracy movement protesters made when they began taking to the streets in October 2019. More than 600 people have died since.  

Kadhimi, who took office in May, was formerly Iraq's intelligence chief. Pro-Iran critics accused him of working to serve US interests. 

He announced last July that the country's parliamentary elections would be moved up a year. 

The elections were first scheduled for June of this year, then postponed until October. Kadhimi said earlier this year that he would not be running in the elections. 

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The premier’s opponents have questioned where funding for the campaigns of activists, journalists and protest leaders will come from. 

Razzaq al-Haidari, leader of the Al-Fatih parliamentary bloc, said it was "expected" that Kadhimi’s team’s lobbying would work, but he questioned how campaigns would be funded. He called on the Electoral Commission to "hold the leaders of these entities accountable for the sources of funding - especially since most of their (protest) leaders did not have anything before working with the Kadhimi government."