Baghdad is only just getting over Eid al-Adha, the holiday on Monday that marked the end of the haj. But with just three days to go before Iraq's elections, the city seems to be shutting down again. 'I can't even go to work,' said one man as he stood in front of a US armoured personnel carrier blocking a road leading to a polling station. He won't be venturing onto the streets come Sunday. 'I would vote if I could vote from my bed,' he said. Some people are leaving town, others are stockpiling fuel. Offices are closing. Guerillas are circulating leaflets threatening to kill anyone who comes within 500 metres of polling stations. They have already begun attacking some of the nearly 6,000 buildings - most of them schools - that are to be used for voting. One guerilla says the election staff of more than 120,000 has been infiltrated. The Ministry of Health has doubled the number of hospital beds in Baghdad. Some Baghdadis say the political atmosphere reminds them of pre-invasion times. The cynics say the 275 assembly members have already been chosen and that the vote is a farce worthy of Saddam Hussein. It is hard to find anyone other than election candidates who seem optimistic about the challenges the country faces after the elections. Khaial al-Jawahiry, 55, is a librarian, author and women's rights advocate who left Iraq in 1978 after she was threatened with arrest on suspicion of being a member of the Communist Party. She is running for a national assembly seat on the list of the People's Unity Party, a group of 275 candidates whose backbone is made up largely of Communist Party members. Ms Jawahiry is one of the few candidates to have campaigned openly and appeared on television and in print. She admits she did not know who else was standing for her party until the election commission released a list. 'I was for postponing the election because of the security situation, but we were afraid that even if we postponed it, things would not get better,' she said. Ms Jawahiry says those who are opposed to the occupation 'should know that [the foreign troops] are already here and they just should be all together in order to think about what will come next'. For all her efforts, the loudest voices on Sunday may be of those who abstain. 'We don't support having the elections because the security situation is not stable,' said Abo Ali, who lives with other refugees from the bombed-out former guerilla stronghold of Fallujah in a bomb shelter in western Baghdad. 'Most of us couldn't vote anyway - we don't have our papers, we left Fallujah so quickly.'