The board of Iraq’s electoral commission resigned en masse on Tuesday in protest at political and judicial “interference,” throwing a general election due next month into disarray. The sudden decision comes with doubts already swirling over whether the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) could organize polling nationwide on April 30 with anti-government fighters in control of a city on Baghdad’s doorstep. Much is at stake in the election, as Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki bids for a third term with his security credentials thrown into question by a surge in violence to levels not seen since 2008. The nine-member IHEC board handed in its resignation in protest at what it said were conflicting rulings from parliament and the judiciary on the barring of would-be candidates for the election.
Members of Tunisia’s Independent High Electoral Commission (ISIE) took the oath of office on Wednesday January 15th. Preparations for the elections must be accelerated in order to avoid political and economic risks to the country, President Moncef Marzouki said at the swearing-in ceremony. The nine ISIE members were elected by the National Constituent Assembly on January 8th. The officials are tasked with overseeing the upcoming presidential and legislative elections. Former Prime Minister Ali Larayedh linked his resignation to the election of the body. [AFP/Fethi Belaid] Tunisian Constituent Assembly Speaker Mustapha Ben Jaafar casts his ballot as MPs vote for electoral commission members on January 8th. The commissioners were selected from hundreds of candidates amid political bickering that almost shook the process of democratic transition in Tunisia. Their ultimate selection was considered a step towards political detente, according to politicians.
The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) in Iraq announced that the campaign for the legislative elections in Iraqi Kurdistan will start on Aug. 28 and last until Sept. 17. The Sept. 21 legislative elections will be the most crucial elections in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq’s history, as it may be a turning point to change the political shape of the next parliament as well as the new government cabinet. The president of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Massoud Barzani, announced on May 26 that all three elections — presidential, legislative and provincial — would be held on Sept. 21. According to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq’s parliamentary election law, presidential and legislative elections should be held simultaneously. But soon after this announcement, on June 30, parliament extended Barzani’s term for another two years. Meanwhile, IHEC delayed the provincial elections until Nov. 21.
Election officials began tallying votes on Sunday from Iraq’s first elections since US troops departed, a contest that served as a key test of its stability amid a spike in violence. Attacks killed three people on election day, a fraction of those who died in a wave of violence preceding the polls on Saturday, which seemed generally well-organised. Turnout for the provincial vote was about 51 percent, according to officials from Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission. IHEC board member Gaata al-Zobaie said ballot boxes and tallies from polling stations were being sent to Baghdad, and they would be entered in computers to tabulate the results. But the credibility of the elections came into question, as 14 candidates died in attacks ahead of the polls and with a third of Iraq’s provinces – all of them mainly Sunni Arab or Kurdish – not voting due to security concerns and political disputes.
Security concerns sparked by anti-government rallies in mostly-Sunni areas of Iraq in recent weeks could hamper provincial polls due in April, a top election official said on Wednesday. Muqdad al-Sharifi, the chief electoral officer of Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), also told reporters that 131 candidates had been barred from the April 20 vote due to their ties to the Baath Party of now-executed dictator Saddam Hussein. “We have a problem in some provinces where there is a political crisis,” Sharifi said, referring to weeks of demonstrations in north and west Iraq against the alleged targeting of the Sunni community by the country’s Shiite-led authorities.
Iraq’s parliament selected on Thursday the ninth and final member of the country’s new election commission that is to be in charge of the upcoming provincial and general elections. The 2013 provincial and the 2014 general vote are expected to shape Iraq’s future following the withdrawal of U.S. troops last December. The balloting will likely come against the backdrop of intense political struggles among Iraq’s diverse religious and ethnic groups. Lawmaker Muqdad al-Shuraifi, a member of the new election commission, said legislators on Thursday chose Turkoman representative Kulshan Kamal as the body’s ninth member.
Iraq: Political factions accuse Prime Minister of ‘dictatorship’ after arrest of election official | Al-Arabiya
Key political factions accused the premier of moving towards a dictatorship with the arrest of Iraq’s electoral commission chief, a charge the prime minister denied on Saturday. Faraj al-Haidari, head of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), was detained on Thursday for alleged corruption along with another of the body’s members, Karim al-Tamimi. Anti-U.S. Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr accused Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of being behind the arrests to obstruct the electoral process, joining other key Iraqi political actors who have made the same charge. “The one who ordered the arrest is, to be precise, brother Nuri al-Maliki,” Sadr said in a statement issued by his office in Najaf.