Iraq’s official electoral commission on Sunday rejected proposals to allow the Hashd al-Shaabi, an umbrella group of pro-government Shia militias, to register itself as a political party in advance of elections slated for next year. The decision came one day after prominent Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr declared that the country’s next government would be a “government of militias” if the Hashd al-Shaabi were allowed to field candidates in provincial council and parliamentary polls slated for 2017 and 2018 respectively. In a Sunday statement, the commission said it had based its decision on the fact that the Hashd al-Shaabi constituted a “military organization with links to the [Iraqi] security agencies”.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Iraq.
The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) of Iraq has excluded the Kirkuk Governorate from Iraqi provincial elections, which will be held next year. This is the third time Kirkuk has been barred from provincial elections in Iraq. According to the IHEC, the decision is related to political issues in the city. Following the decision, Kirkuk Governor Najmadin Karim said during a press conference on Tuesday (August 9) that authorities would not allow election centers to be open for displaced people in the governorate. “The IHEC says electoral cards and election centers will be open for displaced people to vote for their representatives in Anbar, Nineveh, Diyala and Tikrit,” Karim said. “I want to inform residents of Kirkuk that no one will vote in Kirkuk in [the elections of] any other governorates if the people of Kirkuk are not allowed to participate in the elections.
A group of Iraqi legislators plans to submit a petition to the speaker of parliament requesting the deposition of executive council members of the Independent High Electoral Commission with an eye toward the commission’s dissolution. The group objects to the commission having been formed based on the quota system, as a result of members being nominated by the parliament, and thus in a corruptive manner. More than 100 members of parliament from the Al-Ahrar bloc, affiliated with the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and the Reform Front, close to former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, signed the petition July 19. The move, coming less than a year before local elections, seems to have become a ritual preceding every election. This time, the demand is being packaged as part of the ongoing push for political reforms. At a protest in Baghdad on July 15, Sadr, leader of the Sadrist movement, had called for the commission to be dismissed because of its basis in the partisan, sectarian quota system. He is calling for a technocratic electoral commission with members appointed by the judiciary, a proposal that would require new legislation.
An alliance headed by prime minister Nuri al-Maliki has been declared as having received the largest number of seats in Iraq’s elections last month, but many of his political opponents doubt the vote’s fairness and claim massive fraud. If proved, the allegations of irregularities and vote-rigging will cast shadows over the legitimacy of the new parliament elected on 30 April and may further worsen the decade-long political ructions and sectarian violence that have been largely blamed on the nation’s political class. Iraq’s Independent Higher Election Commission (IHEC) announced on Monday that al-Maliki’s State of Law Alliance had won 92 out of 328 parliamentary seats. His main rivals finished with between nine and 34 seats overall. Smaller blocs received between one and six seats. A potential new prime minister would need the support of a total of 165 members. Negotiations to build a coalition to form a new government will likely drag on for weeks, if not months, observers say.
A coalition led by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki won the most seats in the country’s first parliamentary elections since U.S. troops left in 2011, setting the stage for a lengthy period of political wrangling amid the worst violence since the civil war. Mr. Maliki’s State of Law coalition won 92 out of 328 parliamentary seats in the elections held in late April, three more seats than it won in 2010, the Iraqi High Election Commission said Monday, putting the Iraqi leader in a strong position to secure a third term. The result left many Iraqis wondering whether another four years under Mr. Maliki, a Shiite Muslim, would deepen the sectarian rancor and extend a political stalemate that has left the government adrift. Western diplomats and analysts say that further instability would also add to the region’s political maelstrom; Syria’s civil war has spilled over into Iraq.
As the Independent Higher Electoral Commission (IHEC) continues the difficult task of counting Iraqis’ votes, the post-election political scene remained fractured as parties began the potentially lengthy process of forming a coalition that will then form a government. Speaking to reporters one day after the elections, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki repeated claims that his State of Law coalition had secured victory, adding that he had already secured enough support to build a coalition government. Maliki’s allies had earlier claimed that the State of Law coalition had secured at least 90 seats in parliament, and the prime minister had told reporters that “we have an ability to pass the 165 seat mark,” the threshold required to form a majority government.
Braving the daily bombings that have scattered his 12 grandsons across Europe, Jawad Said Kamal al-Din, 91, hobbled to a Baghdad polling station on Wednesday to vote for “change”. At a VIP polling station in the capital’s heavily fortified Green Zone, where reporters and photographers far outnumbered voters, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki proclaimed “certain” victory as he cast his ballot. But at the west Baghdad primary school where Kamal al-Din cast his vote, he and others queueing were adamant they wanted change after eight years of Maliki’s rule. They accused the premier of doing little to improve public services, curb rampant corruption or tackle the country’s worst violence in years. The threat of car bombs prompted authorities to impose a polling day ban on all vehicle traffic in and around the capital, forcing voters to walk to the polls.
Iraq’s worst surge in sectarian violence since 2008, fueled by protracted political disputes, makes the first parliamentary election since the U.S.-led occupation anything but promising. Over the last year, Islamic militants have targeted officials from the Shiite Muslim-led government of Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, who is poised to win a third term in Wednesday’s balloting. In turn, government security forces have struck back. The United Nations says at least 8,868 people, 88% of them civilians, were killed in 2013, the highest toll in five years. The pace has continued in the first two months of this year, when about 1,400 were killed in attacks that have occurred nearly on a daily basis.
Suicide bombers attacked two checkpoints south of Baghdad on Monday, among a spate of attacks in central Iraq that killed 23 people as a general election looms next week. Iraq is going through a protracted surge in bloodshed that has killed more than 2,750 people so far this year and the UN envoy warned on Monday that militants were seeking to stoke sectarian tensions between the Shiite Muslim majority and the Sunni Arab minority. In the deadliest attack, a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle rigged with explosives at a police checkpoint in the Suweirah area, south of Baghdad, killing 13 people and wounding 35, a police officer and a medical source said.