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IRAQ: Baghdad's election-poster problems

January 8, 2009 |  8:41 am

Posters_1

Baghdad's concrete blast walls make the perfect blank canvas for election posters, though candidates and their supporters have apparently started ripping down posters from the competition.

Judge Qasim Hasan Abodi, head of Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission, said several candidates and political parties have been warned about defacing posters -- as well as putting them in  areas off-limits for posters, including government buildings and security checkpoints.

Posters_2_4 "We did put a fine on some political entities and we're going to penalize more," he said at a press conference Thursday.

Breaking the rules can result in a fine ranging from 100,000 to 50 million Iraqi dinar, or $90 to $44,500 U.S. dollars.

Despite widespread complaints of poster problems, Abodi said the candidates are complaining to everyone but the commission. So far, it has received no formal complaints.

Although many candidates are campaigning in person, posters seem to be the delivery method of choice for their message. It seems just about every blast wall, building and billboard in Baghdad is covered with posters and campaign promises.

The Madaniyoon group, which means "civilians," announces its slate number, 460, on multiple posters and slogans. Among them:

"The best for me and my town: Madaniyoon 460."

"Vote for Madaniyoon 460 who will serve retirees and widows."

"Madaniyoon list number 460: Our objective is to make sterilized water reach every house."

"The best for me and my town: Madaniyoon 460."

-- Kimi Yoshino in Baghdad

Photos: As Iraq's Jan. 31 provincial election nears, campaign posters can be spotted just about everywhere in Baghdad. A concrete blast wall (inset) is an ideal backdrop. Credit: Saad Khalaf

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