A+ A-ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Iraq’s Sadrist movement has launched a mobile application to guide followers through the country’s upcoming parliamentary elections in October.
The application titled “Altayar” was launched by the popular movement led by influential cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to aid supporters with navigating the new electoral system and provide information about their constituencies.
The application asks for access to the user’s location and provides information on the correct polling station supporters must go to, the required documents to bring, as well as the name of the Sadrist candidate registered for that specific constituency.
Sadr in July had announced he was withdrawing from the election and pulling his support for the current and upcoming governments. “In order to preserve what is left of the nation and to save the nation that has been burnt by the corrupt and is still burning, I inform you that I will not be participating in the elections,” he said in a televised speech.
Sadr leads the Sairoon coalition, the largest parliamentary bloc, and is known for swift shifts in his positions. He was among the first to speak up in January when the election was moved from June 6 to October 10, saying he would not accept any further delay. Sadr himself does not hold an elected position, but as leader of Sairoon, he wields heavy influence when it comes to government formation and agenda.
Iraqis will go to the polls on October 10, a year ahead of schedule. The election was called to meet a demand of protesters who brought down the government of former Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi. However, interest in the vote is low. Several parties from across the spectrum have announced they will not participate. All sides are questioning the legitimacy of the vote in an environment where powerful militias operate outside of government control, activists and election candidates are threatened, and the electoral commission and political elites are accused of fraud.
There are a total of 3,249 candidates vying for 329 seats in the parliament. The official campaign period began on July 8, but has so far been lackluster.
The new electoral system of Iraq was signed by President Barham Salih in November into law, dividing provinces into smaller voting constituencies.
There are three to five seats up for grabs in each constituency, with a woman quota seat per constituency.