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Dubai: The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at former US President George W. Bush is running for parliament in polls scheduled for May 12, the BBC and other media outlets have reported.

In the high-profile incident in 2008, Al Zaidi flung his footwear at the visiting US president as he addressed a press conference alongside then Iraqi prime minister Nouri Al Maliki. “This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog,” he shouted in Arabic as he threw both his shoes, one after the other. “This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq.”

Bush managed to duck on both occasions.

His unusual form of protest earned him widespread support in Iraq and the wider Arab world, but also resulted in a prison sentence for attacking a visiting head of state. Initially, he was sentenced to three years in jail.

But he had the term reduced to 12 months on appeal and was released three months early for good behaviour.

Upon his release, Al Zaidi said he had been tortured by Iraqi security authorities while in prison. He said he sought treatment for broken teeth, bone fractures and other injuries.

In an interview later, Bush said: “It was amusing - I’ve seen a lot of weird things during my presidency, and this may rank up there as one of the weirdest.”

Al Zaidi’s style of protest “inspired” other protesters the world over to undertake similar actions in their respective countries.

Following his release from prison, Al Zaidi quit journalism and relocated to Europe, where he set up a humanitarian organisation to help Iraqi war victims. He is now back in Iraq, and is standing in this month’s elections as a candidate for a list founded by the influential Shiite cleric Muqtada Al Sadr. If he wins, he has promised to “sweep away the thieves and corrupt people, prosecute those who steal Iraqi money, and stop public money being wasted”.

This is the first balloting in Iraq since the government declared Daesh defeated in the country earlier this year.

Some 2.3 million people are still uprooted from their homes following the three-year military campaign, which devastated entire towns and neighbourhoods in northern and western Iraq. Political parties and aid groups have expressed concerns that most would not be able to update their information with authorities and would therefore be ineligible to vote.