By Mustafa Habib.
Finally it looks like things are moving on for Iraq’s provincial elections. A new management body has been elected and dates set. But there are still many obstacles, politicians say, and the elections may well be delayed a third time.
Iraq will hold provincial elections next April as planned, the country’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) has said. The Iraqi Constitution says provincial elections should be held every four years and the elections decide who is running the provincial authorities in Iraq’s different states. The elections have already been postponed twice.
However recently two significant obstacles to the elections have been removed. Early in August the government passed a revised elections law – and this despite the fact that the Iraqi Supreme Court had ruled it unconstitutional.
And then in mid-September, after months of infighting, the new members of the IHEC, the body that oversees elections in the country, were selected. The commission is composed of four Shiite Muslims, two Sunnis, two Kurds and a Turkmen woman and the new head of the committee is a Kurd, Sarbast Mustafa Rasheed Amedi.
“We have proposed that elections be held between April 10 and 20,” Amedi said.
Nonetheless now politicians say they fear that the provincial elections may be postponed again. Most obviously there are a number of legal challenges to both the electoral law and the new committee’s make up that could delay the provincial elections again.