UN Iraq Representative Kubiš says elections were held in generally calm and stable environment, urges calm as electoral appeals are being adjudicated through established legal channels.
Briefing the UN Security Council, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq Ján Kubiš said national elections were held on 12 May in a generally calm and stable environment. He called on political actors and their supporters to uphold peace as electoral appeals are being adjudicated through established legal channels, and urged the independent electoral management bodies to adjudicate all appeals properly, fully and expeditiously, to enable corrections of the problems, justice and the timely certification of the final election results.
Mr. Kubiš noted that many Iraqi political leaders publicly endorsed the electoral process including the Prime Minister and the President, but some other political leaders, including Vice Presidents of the Republic and the Speaker of the Parliament, raised concerns over some of the technical shortfalls encountered with the electronic vote tabulation devices, as well as reports of fraud and vote rigging, active intimidation of voters including by some armed formations, and political interference.
“We continue to urge all Iraqi political actors and their supporters to uphold peace, as electoral appeals are being adjudicated through established legal channels. I also call on the Electoral Commission to continue to safeguard the integrity of all electoral materials and equipment and to cooperate fully and abide by the decisions of the Electoral Judicial Panel, including possible measures to effectively address complaints as lodged by stakeholders in a number of locations. We urge the independent electoral management bodies to adjudicate all appeals properly, fully and expeditiously, to enable corrections of the problems, justice and the timely certification of the final election results.”
The Special Representative highlighted the readiness and availability of United Nations electoral advice and expertise, in support of any activities and measures that may be required to retain confidence in the process, including as regards Kirkuk also in the light of the forthcoming Provincial Council elections across Iraq and the regional elections in the Kurdistan Region later this year.
Mr. Kubiš stated that the elections were marked by a low voter turnout of 44.52 percent as reported by the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), a significant decrease in comparison with previous national elections in Iraq after 2003. This sends a strong signal to the elites ruling the country since 2003, a loud call on their representatives to finally rise up to the people’s expectations. “I urge the Iraqi political elites to hear that call and draw the necessary conclusions on the need for improved representation, justice for all, democratic accountability and good governance void of corruption, sectarian quota system, nepotism and patronage.”
In his briefing, he noted that despite defamation campaigns aimed at undermining the candidacy of women which he roundly condemns, several female candidates received a high number of votes within their political lists, and that some 19 female candidates were elected to parliament.
“Our expectation for the future is that the 25% quota which now guarantees 83 seats for women, represents the minimum threshold and not the ceiling,” he added, calling on political leaders to ensure the full participation of women in political negotiations and their representation at the highest levels in Iraq’s political and decision-making structures.
The SRSG urged political leaders to build on the achievements of the current government in the post-election phase, stressing the need to prioritise inclusive, non-sectarian dialogue, and to ensure the swift formation of a new truly national Government which reflects the will of the people of Iraq.