Iraqi protesters helped spur new elections. But many doubt their votes will matter


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Supporters of Iraq’s Al-Fateh Alliance at a rally in Baghdad on Thursday ahead of Sunday’s parliamentary elections.

Hadi Mizban/AP


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Hadi Mizban/AP

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People stand on a street corner in a poor Baghdad neighborhood called Basateen. After the U.S. invasion in 2003, Washington backed the establishment of a governing structure in Iraq designed to share power among the country’s different religious sects. But this has reinforced patronage and inefficiency in government, and a deteriorating quality of life for Iraqi citizens.

Ruth Sherlock/NPR


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Electoral candidate Taghrid Mohammed Alkhazali crosses a street filled with sewage mixed with wastewater in a Baghdad slum. She is from a new political party that is running on a platform promoting better public services for Iraqis.

Ruth Sherlock/NPR


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Independent or new political candidates lack the same funds and organizing power that bigger, established political parties enjoy. With very few funds, volunteers for candidate Taghrid Mohammed Alkhazali can only afford to print and put up small campaign posters. They are with a new political group whose name translates to «I’m taking my rights.»

Ruth Sherlock/NPR


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Najiha Daher sweeps sewage and wastewater away from the door of her grocery store in a slum district of Baghdad. Corruption and dysfunction in government have left Iraqis with crumbling public services, in a country that is rich with oil.

Ruth Sherlock/NPR


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Mohammed al-Temimi (left) and Ayoub al-Rubaie took part in 2019 demonstrations that helped spur Sunday’s parliamentary elections and new election reform. Now they are among many protesters calling for a boycott of the elections.

Ruth Sherlock/NPR


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Mohammed al-Temimi (left) and Ayoub al-Rubaie took part in 2019 demonstrations that helped spur Sunday’s parliamentary elections and new election reform. Now they are among many protesters calling for a boycott of the elections.

Ruth Sherlock/NPR

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