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Iraqi Voters, Freed From War, Focus on Struggle of Daily Life

May 13, 2018

Muhammed Zubaidi, a politically active young man who had knocked on doors in his neighborhood to support his political movement, Hikma, shopped for groceries on Saturday after going to the polls in his Baghdad neighborhood, Karrada.

He said Iraqis needed to get politically involved to change their problems. But he conceded that his enthusiasm had not been enough to sway many of his friends.

“No one else I know voted today,” he said, waving his blue index finger as a sign that he had cast his ballot. “They are all frustrated.”

Iraqi Voters, Freed From War, Focus on Struggle of Daily LifeIraqi Voters, Freed From War, Focus on Struggle of Daily Life

Said Hussein, 43, a civil servant, said he had decided to boycott the election out of frustration with what he saw as politics as usual and a lack of big ideas to improve life. His wife, he said, argued with him to go vote with her, but he refused.

“I couldn’t find a single face that I trusted or believed in,” Mr. Hussein said he told his wife. “What have any of them done for us?”

Hawla Habib, a professor at Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, who did vote, casting her ballot for Mr. Abadi, said voter apathy could, in large part, be explained by the sheer exhaustion of being Iraqi — surviving the battles against the Islamic State, the years of sectarian violence and daily struggles to create a better life for one’s children.

“All Iraqis care about their nation,” Mrs. Habib said. “It’s just that many are too tired to think anymore.”

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