New Election Officials: "Lots Of People Question Our Abilities"

NIQASH: IHEC apparently plans to use population data based on Iraq’s ration card system.

Al-Moussawi: IHEC uses ration card data, as collected by the Ministry of Commerce, for several reasons. Firstly, it’s one of the documents in Iraq that is credible and reliable. Secondly, the ration card system is fairly accurate about how many Iraqis there are and where they live [because they need to be registered in their places of residence to receive the ration card benefits].

Since 2003, there’s been no accurate census information gathered by the Ministry of Planning. The information they do have is outdated and it’s not accurate enough to allow us to update the electoral rolls

We are however using Ministry of Planning information to ascertain how many seats each electoral district should have.

NIQASH: That doesn’t seem to make much sense. And the government has also managed to postpone a genuine census every time one was mooted.

Al-Moussawi: I don’t know why that’s happened. Maybe there are political reasons but they could just as well be technical or logistical. I do know that a census in Iraq would be very useful – not just for electoral reasons but also when it comes to development and reconstruction.

NIQASH: When will the process of updating the electoral rolls begin?

Al-Moussawi: A few days ago, IHEC approved the appointment of employees in electoral registration centres right round the country. There will be around 800 centres and the process of registration will begin on Dec. 9 and then continue for a month.

NIQASH: Apparently there will be no elections held in the disputed territory of Kirkuk though. Could you explain this?

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