New Electoral Law to Sideline Small Opposition Parties

Kirkuk was a subject discussed by politicians during talks on the electoral legislation. There was no satisfactory conclusion drawn and MPs decided they would simply postpone provincial elections in Kirkuk for another four years.

And then finally, Iraq is currently lacking something else that is essential for the holding of elections: The lack of members on the Independent High Electoral Commission, the body tasked with overseeing elections in the country.

In April, the Iraqi Parliament formed a special commission to start selecting a new council for the Independent High Electoral Commission, or IHEC. It is supposed to be an independent body, separate from other government agencies, and its membership is usually equally distributed between Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite councillors.

Around 500 potential council members were nominated for the nine roles available and four months later, the special commission does not seem to have come very far in working out who those nine are. Iraq’s political parties are jockeying to get their allies and members onto the council and there are also demands that the membership be split along the same ethnic and sectarian lines as previously.

This delay has already seen senior politicians – including the country’s president, Fouad Massoum, the country’s prime minister, Haider al-Abadi and the Speaker of the Parliament, Salim al-Jibouri – call for a deadline for this aspect of the procedure at an early August meeting.

It is important to remember that all of these issues will impact a set of elections that will be crucial to Iraq’s future. The country is slowly emerging from the security crisis started by the extremist IS group. There is no doubt though, that the reconstruction and reconciliation won’t be any easier.

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