Tag Archive | "Independent High Electoral Commission"

Full List of Election Candidates


By Reidar Visser.

The following article was published by Reidar Visser, an historian of Iraq educated at the University of Oxford. It is reproduced here with the author’s permission. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The Iraqi election campaign formally began Tuesday, but the official candidate lists weren’t published until Thursday evening, just before the start of the Iraqi weekend. Altogether, the lists contain the names of 9,045 candidates.

A noteworthy general point is that unlike previous years, no provisional list was published pending appeals regarding de-Baathification and other candidacy problems. In other words, the current list purports to be the final. IHEC maintains that, after its latest showdown with parliament (in which it prevailed after parliament decided to backtrack), all appeal options have been exhausted.

As for the characteristics of the main lists, at least a few tendencies can be noted in this material.

Starting with the Shiite Islamists lists, there is the State of Law list of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (277). Many of its top candidates run in Baghdad: In addition to Maliki himself at top of the list, deputy PM Hussein Shahristani is second and Haydar al-Abbadi is third.

In Basra, former governor Khalaf Abd al-Samad is the top candidate, and several prominent provincial council members are now trying their luck as MP candidates. In Qadisiya, Khalid al-Attiya, the former deputy speaker of parliament, is the State of Law candidate number one. A notable cooption from Sunni-secular circles is Iskandar Witwit (formerly Iraqiyya deputy; now State of Law candidate no 9 in Babel).

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Election Campaigning Begins


By John Lee.

Election campaigning began formally today across Iraq, Asharq al-Awsat reports.

Perhaps optimistically, they suggest this marks the end of the crisis with the Independent High Electoral Commission, following their return to work last week.

Campaign posters and billboards already adorn many parts of Baghdad, as seen in this Al Arabiya slideshow.

Radio Free Iraq has noted how the fact that campaigning has begun on April fools day is a source of amusement for many Iraqis.

(Source: Asharq al-Awsat)

 

 

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IHEC Retracts Resignation


By John Lee.

It was news that stunned many observers, but was met with resignation by others expecting chaos surrounding April’s general elections in Iraq: Last week, Iraq’s entire Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) resigned en masse.

That decision was blamed by the commission on “political interference” over a proposal by the judiciary to disqualify candidates judged to be “of ill repute.”

Some blamed Maliki for meddling with the commission’s work, but Reidar Visser has noted that this time it is not only the PM who is trying to manipulate Iraq’s state institutions for personal gain.

Now IHEC appear to have had an emergency meeting with UN envoy to Iraq Nikolay Mladenov (pictured) and released a statement regarding their return:

“The decision has been taken to withdraw the resignations and resume our duties in full confidence”.

(Source: Reuters)

 

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Analysis of IHEC Resignation


The following  was  published by Reidar Visser, an historian of Iraq educated at the University of Oxford. It is reproduced here with the author’s permission. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

On Tuesday, the members of the Iraqi electoral commission IHEC collectively presented their resignations to the head of the commission.

If the mass resignation becomes effective, it will leave Iraq without the required institutional framework to carry out parliamentary elections scheduled for 30 April. First a word on the legal aspects of the resignations.

It has been suggested by both Sadrists and ISCI leader Ammar al-Hakim that the resignations are subject to approval by the Iraqi parliament. This view does not seem to square with law no. 11 from 2007 that regulates the work of the commission.

In article 6, first, it is stipulated that the membership of commissioners can be terminated upon presentation of a resignation according to the bylaws of the commission.

There is no mention of parliament at all. The bylaws of IHEC, adopted in 2013 (PDFhere, starts on p. 21), stipulate that any member can present their resignation to the commission and that it will become effective after 30 days unless other action is taken.

The collective resignation presented to the head of the commission does seem somewhat unorthodox in that respect, but there seems to be no doubt that legally the matter remains within the commission itself. <!–-nextpage–-> As for the substantive context, it is fairly clear that the resignation of the IHEC members comes as a response to the latest legislative action by the Iraqi parliament. This aimed at enshrining a particular interpretation of the Iraqi election’s law concept of “good conduct” as a criterion for election candidacies.

Specifically, through its focus on the presumption of innocence parliament effectively negated IHEC’s past practice of using multiple legal charges against an individual (without conviction) as basis for banning them from standing in elections. Of course, to what extent it is within the power of the Iraqi parliament to adopt a simple “decision” in order to rectify the vagueness of its own past legislative efforts is open to debate.

In the past, such decisions have materialized from time to time, for example in December 2009 when it was used to enshrine the exact distribution of seats between provinces (conversely, in November 2013 when the new election law was passed, an attachment to the law itself stipulated the seat distribution).

Conceivably, a more correct (but more time-consuming) method for challenging what is  perceived as IHEC highhandedness in banning election candidates would be to complain the procedures to the administrative court (rather than the supreme court), which deals with the application of laws in force, and which could in theory address the methods used to determine what constitutes “good conduct”. <!–-nextpage–-> In any case, the comparable parliament “decision” from 2009 on seat distribution was adhered to, of course, not least because it reflected a consensus that had emerged after months of parliamentary wrangling.

This time things are very different. It is fairly clear that the parliament action to define “good conduct” was taken by enemies of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in parliament (chiefly the bloc of parliament speaker Nujayfi along with some Shiite discontent support) who were concerned about possible collusion between the PM and the Iraqi judiciary in excluding political enemies from the next elections.

For his part, Maliki has responded to the parliamentary move by questioning its legal status, describing it as an “incomplete” legislative act, thereby evoking past supreme court rulings that basically stipulate that every legislative act in Iraq should pass through the cabinet before becoming law.

Reflecting the changing of the political colour of the commission seated in September 2012, thought to be more favourable to Maliki than the previous one, IHEC has implicitly come out on the side of Maliki in this debate. (Possibly due to laziness, some pundits have construed the current conflict as a case of IHEC standing up against Maliki: They should carefully study the chronology of events and how the recent parliament decision immediately prompted an IHEC escalation, as well as this interview with one of the commission members, which at one point goes far in criticising parliament interference with the electoral judicial panel).

The decision by parliament itself should be appealable to the federal supreme court as a matter of constitutional interpretation. Indeed, if Maliki wants to avoid speculation that he is sincere about having elections on time, he should probably file such a complaint in any case. <!–-nextpage–-> In all of this is it is noteworthy how the battle lines have changed somewhat from 2010, when there was also a pre-election struggle related to candidacy qualifications.

Back then, the struggle related to de-Baathifcation, and the tension increasingly took on a sectarian nature. So far, despite heightened sectarian tension regionally, de-Baathification has been in the background this year, with the MPs complaining about exclusion from the upcoming elections representing both Sunni and Shiite-leaning political parties.

But the elections lists must be published soon if there is to be any time left for campaigning, and there could of course be surprises hidden in them. All in all, Iraq is beginning to look dysfunctional. The president is incapacitated, the annual budget has not been passed, and now the threatened IHEC resignation. And yet there is something quintessentially Iraqi about resignation threats – a staple of Iraqi politics since the days of the British mandate.

It will be remembered that half of the Sunni and secular politicians in parliament  recently threatened to resign without following through. There may still be possibilities for compromises ahead of 30 April, but time is fast running out.

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Iraq’s Electoral Commission Ends In Mass Resignation


By John Lee.

Sources from Reuters have reported that Iraq’s entire electoral commission have resigned en masse complaining of “political interference.”

The move comes following a conflict between the judiciary, legislature and the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) following a decision by the judiciary to disqualify candidates said to be of “ill repute.”

This could quite possibly jeopardise April’s general elections, now only 36 days away. A statement from the commission clarified the reasoning behind the move:

“The commission is subject to intense pressures resulting from the conflict between the legislative and judiciary powers.In order to get out of this vicious circle, the members of the electoral commission have taken the decision to present their resignation collectively.”

Critics of PM Nouri al-Maliki (pictured) have often noted how state institutions have either been manipulated (in the case of the judiciary) purged of al-Dawa party opponents or sidelined by the PM. Follow our updates at Iraq Business News for more analysis and commentary following this move.

(Source: Reuters)

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A Challenge for the Electoral Commission


With just six weeks left to the parliamentary elections in Iraq, scheduled for 30th April, former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has sais that the elections may not be held due to the security problems in the country.

Addressing a youth organization affiliated to his National Iraqi Alliance, Allawi expressed doubts about the integrity and transparency of the forthcoming elections, citing reports that forged electronic voting cards were being sold.

According to the London-based newspaper Asharq Al Awsat, he has also raised concerns that a number of serving and former Iraqi parliamentarians have been excluded from the elections, including former finance minister Rafie Al-Issawi.

The conditions for an election will not be ideal in the forseeable future, so rather than postponing the ballot, the remaining six weeks must be put to good use. The onus must now be on the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) to ensure that confidence is restored in the electoral process.

(Flag image via Shutterstock)

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Details of Coalitions Contesting April Elections


By Reidar Visser.

The following article was published by Reidar Visser, an historian of Iraq educated at the University of Oxford. It is reproduced here with the author’s permission. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

IHEC Publishes the List of Constituent Elements in Coalitions Contesting Iraq’s 30 April Elections

At long last, following publication of certified entities as well as the numbers of entities and coalitions, the Iraqi electoral commission has released the list of the constituent elements of the 39 electoral lists in the 30 April Iraqi parliamentary elections that are coalitions of more than one party. The list is to some extent helpful in forming a more precise picture of the strength of the various lists and the competition between them.

With regard to the big and well-known lists, there aren’t that many surprises. The core line-up of the State of Law alliance of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is confirmed as the two main Daawa branches, the Shahristani bloc and Badr. The new list confirms that the Risali movment of ex-Sadrist Adnan al-Shahmani is also on the State of Law ticket.

The Turkmen minister for the provinces who played a central role in the recent announcement of new governorates is also on Maliki’s list. Another noteworthy minority representative is a Shabak politician, Hunayn al-Qaddo. Qaddo was previously an advocate of the territorial integrity of Nineveh governorate in the context of Kurdish expansion. He has however congratulated the Shabak on the news of the establishment of the Nineveh plains governorate.

Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect regarding the Shiite Islamist Muwatin alliance associated with Ammar al-Hakim and ISCI is the inclusion of a former Maliki ally, Ali al-Dabbagh. Ahmad Chalabi is also here (rather than with the Sadrists, whose election alliance with ISCI in 2009-10 he played a key role in forging), and Fawaz al-Jarba of the Shammar tribe constitutes a mostly symbolic Sunni representation. Basra is particularly well represented in the ISCI alliance, with the party of Shaykhi leader Amir al-Fayiz alongside businessman Tawfiq Abbadi and others.

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List of Coalitions and Entities in the Elections


By Reidar Visser.

The following article was published by Reidar Visser, an historian of Iraq educated at the University of Oxford. It is reproduced here with the author’s permission. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Following the lottery yesterday in which participants in the 30 April parliamentary elections were given ticket numbers, the Iraqi election commission has released an official list that also provides the first official overview of coalition and entities that will take part in the election.

It is noteworthy that although the deadline for forming coalitions expired late last year, IHEC has so far refrained from publishing a list of the constituent elements of the various coalitions.

One reason may be that the process of certification of entities continued well into 2014, with constant updates to the official list of individual entities. This means that there is still no official source that can be used for evaluating the potential strength of the various coalitions, but the most recent list is at least helpful in that it authoritatively distinguishes between coalitions and entities that will run on their own, ending some of the speculation as regards the choices of some of the smaller parties.

The key statistics of the new list are as follows. Altogether 107 lists will take part in the 30 April parliamentary elections. Of these, 36 will be coalitions. A maximum of 71 entities will run on their own.

All the main coalitions are well known. With respect to Shiite Islamists, the following main groups are defined as coalitions: State of Law, Muwatin (mainly ISCI), Ahrar (Sadrists), Islah (Jaafari) and Fadila (with some lesser known smaller parties). Smaller “coalitions” include list 238 which is organized by Sabah al-Saadi, an ex-Fadila MP known for his ferocious verbal attacks on Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

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