Iraqi Candidate Speaks to the BBC

Posted by Zeina Baghdad, 24 January

As a candidate in the election, I can't do that much. I'm afraid to give you my full name because if people opposed to the election find out they may come to the house and kill us. I can't tell strangers that I am running in the election. Our party, the National Democratic Party, has more than 300 members and about 30 candidates in the election, half of whom are women.

Conditions in Baghdad at the moment are very poor. There is little electricity or gas, we have to queue for hours to get just a little bit of gas for our cars. As you know, in Baghdad there are daily bombs and many people are being killed.

You see posters of the candidates for the main parties all over Baghdad. You can even run into some of these publicly declared candidates at private meetings, but they have heavy security. You never see them on the streets, meeting voters and campaigning in the normal way. It's just not safe.

It is hard to be a candidate in this election. I do go out and meet people, but most of them are relations or friends or colleagues, one way or another. I hope nothing terrible happens on election day. People are praying it will go smoothly.

I think it will also be hard for people who want to vote. People will be afraid to go to the polling stations, and given the difficulty of campaigning, people just don't know who they are voting for. But I and all my family will be voting - I think we can vote near where we live in the centre of Baghdad. I'm desperate to vote. I want a better future for my country and this will help.

I also think that Sunni Muslims in Iraq will change their minds and vote. They want to but are being intimidated. If they don't vote, they will not be represented at the centre of power and this in itself will cause problems. Unity, against the killers and bombers, is the key for Iraq as a whole.

As for the US soldiers, for the time being it is good that they stay. Without them the situation would be terrible. But, long term, they must leave.

I am a housewife at the moment, but I used to be a librarian. If I am elected, my priority will be to change the situation of children in our society. At the moment few have schools, or anywhere to go to play safely. That's my main election promise - to work to improve life for children.


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