ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - The Kurdistan Region’s Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs on Monday prohibited electoral campaigning from being carried out in mosques and other religious sites for the upcoming Iraqi elections.
“As campaigning for the Iraqi parliamentary elections begins, we warn all political parties and candidates that putting up banners, pamphlets, and billboards inside mosques, on the exterior of mosques, and other religious sites, is strictly forbidden,” the statement read.
“The Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs will report and issue formal complaints with the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) against any party or candidate that violate the rule,” the statement added, saying violators would not be informed beforehand.
Campaigning for the national parliamentary election kicked off in the Kurdistan Region on Sunday, one day after the rest of Iraq, with 503 candidates competing in the semi-autonomous region for 46 seats in the Iraqi parliament.
Posters of the candidates and political parties can be seen in every city and town across the Kurdistan Region. In previous elections, a number of people protested and criticized the use of mosques and religious sites as political advertising space.
There are 3,144,730 people eligible to vote in the Kurdistan Region in the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled on May 12 according to Mazin Abdul-Khaliq, the head of the IHEC’s Kurdistan Region branch.
With 46 allotted seats for the Kurdistan Region in the Iraqi Parliament, 16 of the seats are for representatives from Erbil, 18 from Sulaimani, and 12 from Duhok province. Two positions from Erbil and Duhok are reserved for Christian representatives, according to the IHEC.
Editing by Nadia Riva