Deadline looms for Iraq campaigning
Campaigning for Iraq's election on March 7 is entering the final stage, with only four days left for candidates to convince their voters.
Campaigning for Iraq's election on March 7 is entering the final stage, with only four days left for candidates to convince their voters before a two-day period of silence, Then on March 5, special voting gets under way for those serving in the military, those sick in hospitals and prisoners.
Candidates are using the social networking website Facebook for the first time in addition to appearing on local and Arab television stations to present their messages. And there’s a lot of talk of vote buying too - giving gifts and cash.
On the streets of Baghdad, there is a sea of posters everywhere - in public squares, gardens, on electric poles; someone even thought to put their posters on a big balloon and send it into the sky.
There are a lot of promises and slogans - some calls for "determination" and "change", others pledge to "hold the corrupt to account" or say "no space for Baathists". Still others promise to work towards an end to injustice, the elimination of poverty and the general improvement of government services.
Some Iraqis are cynical, saying they don’t trust these promises will be met.
Alla Abdelhussien, an Iraqi army soldier, says:
"I want the candidates to implement their promise as fast as they hung their posters ... I really hope they implement what they say."
While Sabreen, a Baghdad resident, tells Al Jazeera:
"They did nothing for us ... the country has a lot of problems. We only see the candidates on election day and on posters."
Thousands of candidates are competing for 325 parliament seats. They represent different parties and reflect the diverse Iraqi political spectrum.
Some are convinced it’s time for change.
Says Adel Qasem, a Baghdad resident:
"The old faces will be gone ... there are new faces and God willing, they will rule Iraq and will change this situation."
That’s the general mood in Baghdad nowadays – a lot of talk of change and perhaps a hope for a better life; a life with less sectarianism, bombings and corruption, and more clean water, security and electricity