Teams start removing elections posters
Life in the Kurdistan Region, and especially in the Kurdish capital of Erbil, is slowly returning to normal after the polls at which the Region witnessed amazing voter turnout on election day followed by a brief period of celebration.
A joint campaign consisting of teams from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), the ministries of the Municipalities and of Electricity, and Peshmarga forces played its part in the return to normality. The teams have already removed some of the election campaign material posted by candidates competing in the parliamentary elections.
The teams has started taking down banners, streamers and posters from avenues and major roads. However, streamers and posters are still visible in some market areas and smaller streets in residential areas.
The posters and elections materials, which added a lot of color as well as a powerful sense of democracy during the 20 days of election campaigning, were partly torn down and very ugly as a result.
Apart from the governmental teams, the fans and supporters of some political parties had already begun removing the posters and flyers after the Iraqi High Electoral Commission (IHEC) called on the various political parties to remove their own campaign posters after the election period.
Some posters placed by the political parties contesting the September 21 elections are still plastered on buildings, polls, walls, bins, and drywalls around the city and have become an eyesore.
The government and the IHEC gave permission for candidates to post election material around four weeks ago on the understanding that all the posters would be removed within 30 days of the end of the campaign.
“The political lists have 30 days to remove the posters of their candidates. Legal action will be taken against any lists that fail to do so,” said Rizgar Ahmad, head of the Service Department at Sulaimani Municipality.
Due to the height of some of the posters and flyers posted by the political parties, their supporters are having to use cranes and front loaders to remove the ads.
“We have removed a large percentage of the KDP posters and flyers already, and there is still time to remove more. We are trying to get the city back to normal as quickly as we can,” said Adnan Amjad, a Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) supporter, as he removed posters from Erbil city walls.
Next to Amjad, Khalid Muhsin, a Gorran Move- ment supporter, was removing Gorran candidates’ posters. Musin said that Gorran has always adhered to decisions made by the IHEC. “I am not sure if we remove all our posters in time, but we are doing our best,” he said.
In addition, volunteering teams have been formed in some places to clear the city of posters and banners. The Erbil Environment Protection Network called on people who want to participate voluntarily in cleaning up the elections ads in the city. Many people and officials from gov- ernment foundations have responded to their request.
The Network team started cleaning the places that have been intensively targeted by political lists accompanied by the Governor of Erbil, Nawzad Hadi, and representatives of the Erbil Municipality department. University Road, where most of the colleges are located, is now almost free of election material. The team removed many posters, banners and flyers without differentiating between the posters of different lists.
The parliamentary elec- tions were held across the Kurdistan Region on 21 September 2013, and more than 1 000 candidates from 27 political parties and independents competed for the 111 seats in the Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament.
The next Kurdish parliament is expected to amend the Region's controversial draft constitution. Apart from the KDP, major Kurdish parties want the draft to be amended to limit presidential power and establish a clear-cut parliamentary system.
A man collects the posters used for the 2013 Kurdistan parliamentary election campaign in the capital city of Erbil on Sepbtember.