ASIA/IRAQ - Chaldean Patriarchate: no to the use of symbols and religious references for electoral propaganda

Wednesday, 2 May 2018 middle east   oriental churches   elections   geopolitics   religious minorities  

Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) - Candidates in the upcoming Iraqi political elections must avoid exploiting symbols and religious references as instruments of electoral propaganda. This is the request expressed by the Patriarchate of Babylon of the Chaldeans in view of the election on 12 May. In order to gather electoral support the candidates must only refer to their professional skills and their personal talents. Christian candidates, in particular, must avoid claiming alleged sponsorships and support from ecclesiastical authorities.
The case that needed to be clarified was in particular that of Sarkis Agajan, former Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister in the Government of the Autonomous Region of Iraqi Kurdistan, whose work was compared to that of Christ in some messages of electoral propaganda spread through social networks. "We respect Professor Agajan" the patriarchal statement reads, "but we cannot compare him to Christ".
Almost 25 million potential voters are called to cast their votes in the upcoming national elections. Almost 7 thousand candidates (including more than 2 thousand women) came together to compete for the 329 seats in Parliament, grouped into 87 lists, many of which were organized only at a local or regional level.
There are at least 9 small political groups animated by Christian leaders and militants who will take part in the next elections, competing to win the 5 seats - distributed individually in the 5 provinces of Baghdad, Kirkuk, Erbil, Dohuk and Nineveh - that the quota system reserves for Christian minorities. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 2/5/2018)