Iraq News
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Mosul residents register to vote in June elections

By Alaa Hussain in Baghdad

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An Iraqi voter has her biometric voting card checked with her fingerprint upon arriving at a poll station in al-Hamdaniyah, some 30 kilometres from Mosul, on May 12th, 2018. [Zaid al-Obeidi/AFP]

Mosul residents are counting on Iraq's parliamentary elections, set for June 6th, 2021, to change the country's political landscape and help their city truly recover from the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) era and its aftermath.

The early election date was set following the ratification of a new election law that came in response to the demands of the recent popular protests in Iraq, which denounced both corruption and the influence of Iran and its proxies.

Residents who spoke with Diyaruna said they hope the elections will curb the influence of corrupt entities and those who are loyal to Iran, which they accuse of playing a destructive role in Iraq.

Mosul is betting on changing the old guard with incumbents that serve the city, said east Mosul resident Ahmed Atwan, who works in the household appliances business.

The city is still suffering the consequences of ISIS rule and of the battle to oust the group from Iraq, he told Diyaruna.

Many post-war issues remain stalled and unresolved, he noted, among them the issue of compensation for those affected by the conflict, reconstruction and the return of the displaced population.

Ninawa province requires "new, more effective and active local administrations" to meet these and other needs, Atwan said.

He said he believes the election law, in its new form, will bring to the fore promising new parties or even local patriots who are seeking public service.

'Ridding Ninawa of militias'

Mosul resident Saadoun al-Shimmari told Diyaruna that a few days ago, he and his family had submitted their biometric voter registration data in preparation for the upcoming elections.

Electoral registration centres have been issuing long-term (biometric) voter cards across Iraq and have started biometric registration of new voters who have recently reached voting age and internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Al-Shimmari said the damage ISIS caused not only affected buildings and infrastructure, but also paved the way for militias to infiltrate and control Mosul and plunder its resources.

"Ridding Ninawa of these militias and their negative impact can only be achieved by electing real representatives of the province to the Iraqi parliament," he said.

Truly local representatives will be able to understand people's suffering and push for public services to be upgraded while exposing those who want to harm their city, he added.

High turnout for voter registration

The call put out to the local electorate to update their biometric voter registration data has received a positive response, said Qasim Mohammad, director of the Ninawa Office of the Electoral Commission.

The commission has been facilitating the process of upgrading voter registration procedures and issuing voter cards, he told Diyaruna.

It receives voters in 140 election centres throughout the province, he said, with 57 centres in both east and west Mosul and 83 centres in the province's other districts and sub-districts.

All these centres are open during official working hours, and they have collectively recorded a higher turnout of prospective voters, compared with that of a few months ago, he said, which bodes well for the upcoming elections.

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