ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – At least three candidates for the upcoming parliamentary election have died since the start of the electoral campaign, according to security sources.
The security situation has raised concerns among local and international groups who have warned that any threats to the electoral process could "damage Iraq’s democracy."
Najm al-Hasnawi, a candidate from Baghdad, was gunned down in the city’s Mashtal neighborhood on Sunday in a tribal dispute turned violent. Hasnawi was a candidate of the State of Law Coalition, the largest Shia bloc in the Iraqi Parliament led by the current vice-President and former Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki.
Ten days ago, Yasseen Majid al-Luaibi, a candidate for the Baghdad Alliance, a Sunni coalition, died of a heart attack shortly after getting into an altercation with his relatives in Iraq’s capital.
On April 14, the day electoral campaigning official began, Hadi Hussein al-Aqabi, a candidate for the al-Hikma (Wisdom) party in Wasit province, died in a car accident as he was heading to Baghdad to participate in his party’s main rally.
The Iraqi parliamentary election, which includes the Kurdistan Region, is scheduled to be held on May 12. Over 7,000 candidates representing different parties are competing to fill 329 seats in Parliament.
Since the start of the electoral campaign, a number of candidates have been the target of assassination attempts in Baghdad, Basra, and Kirkuk, where a candidate for the Turkmen Front survived a car bombing according to security sources.
It is the first election following the defeat of the Islamic State (IS), and the fourth parliamentary election since the fall of Saddam Hussein and his dictatorship in 2003.
Editing by Nadia Riva