Election posters plastered on the bullet-riddled wall of a girls’ school in the Old City of Iraq’s Mosul pledge a better future for those casting their ballot at a nationwide vote. But the scenes of devastation that surround them almost 10 months after the Islamic State group (IS) was forced from the country’s second city belie the hopeful claims. “Iraq is moving forward,” reads an advert for candidate Laith Ahmad Hassan, standing for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s Victory Alliance at the May 12 parliamentary poll. “We will continue the process of reconstruction and offer the benefits to the people,” says a poster for contender Fares Sheikh Sadik from a Kurdish party.
The scars left from the months of gruelling fighting it took to oust IS from Mosul — the Iraqi capital of their so-called “caliphate” — are still visible all over the city.
Streets lie in ruins, decomposing bodies rot beneath rubble and unexploded ordnance poses a constant threat.
Despite this backdrop of devastation, candidates are trying their hardest to drum up support. They have staged sporting and cultural events, handed out free cake to passersby and hired convoys of cars to cruise around the city blasting out music.