With funding provided by the Government of Canada, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) recently conducted qualitative public opinion research in five provinces in Iraq: Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk, Ninewa, and Salahaddin. Results show that the most pressing need among Iraqi citizens in provinces formerly occupied by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is finding job opportunities and improving their economic situation. This is seen as a precondition for satisfying other necessities which the government is failing to provide, mainly water and electricity. Corruption is viewed as pervasive and regarded as a main source of poor governance, in addition to a perceived lack of interest in citizens’ needs and limited budget resources.
Other key findings show that ethno-sectarian relations continue to improve as a result of unity against ISIS. Despite low trust in public institutions, there is an interest in public participation in local governance, as well as some openness to women leaders. Security is perceived as improving, but differences between provinces are widening; research participants in Kirkuk show highest concerns about the re-emergence of ISIS in their province.
NDI conducted this research with support from Conflict Management Consulting (CMC) and Al Mustakella for Research (IIACSS). The research consisted of 10 focus group discussions and 14 key informant interviews (KIIs), fielded between June 25 and July 2, 2019. Two gender-segregated focus group discussions were organized in each of the five recently liberated provinces along with 12 KIIs; additionally, two KIIs were conducted with internally-displaced persons (IDPs) in Erbil.