New Election Officials: “Lots Of People Question Our Abilities”

By Mustafa Habib.

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

In September the new members of the much debated Independent High Electoral Commission were finally elected. Some say they’re not up to the job. But their spokesperson says they will run Iraq’s 2013 elections on time.

There has been plenty of debate and discussion as to whether Iraq’s provincial elections will be held according to schedule early next year.

And new members have recently been elected to Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (or IHEC), the body tasked with overseeing elections in the country.

The last committee departed somewhat ignominiously with several members, including the chairman, charged with corruption. The former chairman has said that he was not guilty and that the charges were a threat to the independence of the IHEC.

The United Nations’ Special Representative for Iraq, Martin Kobler, has emphasized the importance of the IHEC, saying that “IHEC is the most important guarantee of holding free and fair elections in Iraq, fundamental for safeguarding and sustaining the democratic process.”

The commission is now composed of four Shiite Muslims, two Sunnis, two Kurds and a Turkmen woman; the new head of the committee is a Kurd, Sarbast Mustafa Rasheed Amedi.

NIQASH talked to IHEC’s spokesperson, Safaa al-Moussawi, who is on the committee and who is also a member of current Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s mainly Shiite Muslim, ruling party, about how the new commission is coping and whether elections would indeed be held as planned early next year.

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