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Commentary: Government Should Act Against Dirty Campaigning

Below are excerpts from a commentary by Muhammad Abd al-Jabar that was published in the state-run "Al-Sabah" newspaper on 30 November.

Competing slates have started propaganda and media competition as the placards, leaflets, and posters have spread everywhere, to say nothing about the free advertisements presented by [Al-Iraqiyah] television, belonging to the Iraqi [government].

Iraq's law on the elections specified the rules of the game and explained some forbidden acts, yet it forgot some other [campaign activities] that may affect the election's security and democratic aims.

Some people were said to be killed or nearly assassinated while they were hanging posters for one slate or another, and it is easy to suppose that the culprits were either from that party or a competing one.

Some say that posters and placards were torn or put over other ones in order to obscure them. One can [accuse] the competing slates of doing such acts. Some people [also] put the placards in the prohibited places.

There is no election campaign that is 100 percent clean. Nevertheless, it is right to work for making the election as clean as possible. However, we have no procedures for specifying and registering such [illegal] acts and violations except to complain about them.

It would be useful to discuss these acts in civil society organizations, [and] record them [in order to] inform the authorities to follow-up on any violations.

Copyright (c) 2005. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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