Iraq… Doubts and a complicated atmosphere hang over the upcoming elections الانتخابات

Amman Today

publish date 2021-06-22 22:23:00

* Electoral Commission spokeswoman Jumana Al-Ghalai: At least 3,523 candidates will run in the early elections on October 10.
* Political observer Saad Al-Zubaidi: The upcoming elections will not be different from the previous ones, and we expect that they will witness a reluctance to participate
* Member of Parliament Ahmed Haidar: The coming days may witness a change in the election date
* Political observer Sabah Al-Ugaili: The new election law “would bring about change in the country and the rise of new political forces.”

Iraqis are looking forward to next October to cast their votes in the early elections and choose a new parliament on which many hope to contain security tensions and the political shake-up caused by the widespread popular protests that toppled the previous government.

With about 4 months remaining until the elections scheduled for next October 10, doubts are still being raised about the government’s ability to provide the appropriate security environment for the voting process.

Tension prevails between the government and factions of the “Popular Mobilization”, which are accused of launching repeated attacks on military bases that include soldiers of the international coalition led by the United States of America, in addition to the assassination of activists in the popular movement.

The tension reached its peak last month, when special forces arrested the commander of Anbar Operations in the “crowd” Qassem Musleh; Factions of the “crowd” forced the government to hand him over after it surrounded vital sites, including the home of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi and the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers inside the heavily fortified Green Zone in the center of the capital, Baghdad.

These events showed the government’s weakness in the face of these factions, and raised many question marks about Baghdad’s ability to organize fair elections far from the power of the factions’ arms, according to what Iraqi observers say.

** Preparations in full swing

Despite all this, the Independent High Electoral Commission (officially linked to Parliament) says that it is moving forward with completing technical preparations to conduct the voting process on time.

Commission spokeswoman Jumana al-Ghalay told Anadolu Agency that she “registered 276 parties to participate in the early elections, and approved 44 new alliances.”

She added that “there are 3,523 candidates who will run in the elections,” noting that “this number is not final but can be increased in the coming days, as the commission is still waiting for the answers of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (to verify the validity of the candidates’ testimonies), as well as the Ministry of Justice and the Accountability and Justice Commission (De-Baathification) regarding other candidates to ensure the eligibility of their candidacy.

Al-Ghalay pointed out that the commission “has completed updating the voter register, and has finished receiving the lists of candidates, and now work has begun on preparing the ballot paper after maintaining and rehabilitating all electronic devices for voting.”

And she added that the commission “is now preparing to conduct an actual simulation of the elections in the presence of international representatives during next July, in one electoral station for each of the 1,079 registration centers throughout Iraq.”

** Election integrity

Over the past election cycles, a lot of controversy arose about the integrity of the elections in the country, which suffers from “widespread corruption”, according to international reports, in addition to the presence of powerful armed factions.

But Al-Kazemi’s government pledged to conduct a fair voting process under international supervision, and away from the power of arms.

And the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced last May, the approval of the UN Security Council on Iraq’s request for the participation of the United Nations in monitoring the elections.

Earlier this year, the Electoral Commission sent 71 international invitations to participate in monitoring the electoral process; Of these, 52 Arab and foreign countries, and 19 international organizations.

Al-Ghalay said that “the participation of the electoral process partners (citizens, international observers, representatives of political parties, local and international media), is the greatest guarantee that no electoral fraud will occur.”

She added that “the other evidence is the difficulty of tampering with the electronic electoral card.”

** Expected reluctance

For his part, the Iraqi writer and political observer, Saad Al-Zubaidi, said that the upcoming elections “will not be different from the previous ones.”

Al-Zubaidi told Anadolu Agency that “the upcoming elections will be very similar to the previous elections for many reasons, most notably the loss of confidence by citizens,” expecting “a great reluctance to participate.”

He added, “The failure to pass the Parties Law so far is considered a gateway of hope for political parties in order to manipulate voters through political money and their media machines.”

The traditional political parties in Iraq faced a violent shock during the massive protests that began in October 2019 and continued with great momentum until the overthrow of the previous government headed by Adel Abdul-Mahdi at the end of the same year.

At the time, the protesters demanded the departure of the influential parties accused of corruption and foreign dependency and the dismantling of the political system based on the distribution of positions among the main components of the country, namely Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds.

Early elections were also one of the main demands of the popular movement in the country, which is still continuing in a limited way, but getting rid of these parties does not seem within reach in the foreseeable future.

** Postponement of elections

Al-Zubaidi believes that “all data indicates that Iraq will witness security and political turmoil at all levels as a result of the start of competition between the ruling political parties.”

He explained that “the deterioration of the security situation, whether through attacks on foreign diplomatic missions in Iraq or by targeting and intimidating citizens, will be an important factor in the possibility of postponing the elections to next year.”

In turn, the deputy in the current parliament from Kirkuk Governorate, Ahmed Haider, said that “political opinions so far are heading towards holding the elections on the specified date, but the coming days may witness a change in the date.”

Haidar added to Anadolu Agency that the parliament’s presidency “continuously follows up on the latest developments regarding the holding of the parliamentary elections on the scheduled date with the presidency of the republic and the ministers.”

** New Election Law قانون

The current parliamentary session was supposed to end in 2022, but the political parties decided to hold early elections after the popular movement toppled the previous government.

The movement also forced Parliament to legislate a new election law that would provide a greater opportunity for independents and small blocs to rise to Parliament by dividing the country into small districts after a single governorate was considered a single electoral district.

In contrast to Al-Zubaidi, the Iraqi political observer, Sabah Al-Ugaili, saw that the new election law “would bring about change in the country.”

Al-Ugaili told Anatolia, that the new election law “will play a major role in changing the electoral equation that Iraqis have been accustomed to in previous years, as early elections will witness the victory of political parties and new personalities.”

He added that the new law “raises the fears of political forces, which prompted them to call for the formation of an emergency government and to postpone the elections indefinitely under the pretext of the (unstable) security and political situation in the country.”

No political bloc has publicly adopted the proposal to form an emergency government. Rather, there was talk of discussions behind closed doors between political forces (without revealing their names) to postpone the elections to the next year with the formation of an emergency government until that time, according to what was recently circulated in local media. .

Al-Ugaili indicated that the current Iraqi government “is facing a great challenge, especially since expectations indicate that the situation in all governorates will be turbulent and difficult to control.”

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World News

Source : ألدستور

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