The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Mr. Martin Kobler (pictured), has welcomed the beginning of the first voter registration update in three years as part of preparations for the forthcoming Governorate Council elections on 20 April 2013.
“The opening of 891 Voter Registration Centres is an important step towards transparent and credible elections in 2013,” Mr. Kobler said. “With Iraq’s large youth population, it is particularly significant that many first-time voters who have turned eighteen since the last election will join the list and become part of the political process,” he continued.
Until 28 December 2012, all women and men over 18 years of age can visit a Voter Registration Centre (VRC) to check their data on the list and to amend it if necessary. Mr. Kobler said that the launch of the voter registration update process shows how quickly and efficiently the new Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) is moving to ensure that all is ready for the April elections.
“The new IHEC has made fast progress,” he said. “The United Nations will continue to support IHEC through its preparations to ensure political inclusion for all Iraqis, including key target groups – youth, women, internally displaced persons, minorities, and disabled persons,” Mr. Kobler added.
SRSG Kobler did however urge the Parliament to pass amendments to the electoral law without delay, to guarantee that the elections take place on schedule. He also expressed regret that voter registration is not taking place in Kirkuk, and called on components to speedily agree on a law incorporating elections there.