Monday, 21 May 2012, 07:54 GMT
Delays in elections limit provincial councils' authority

An employee of the Iraqi Commission for Elections sets up signs at an electoral station in this file photo./ GLOBE PHOTO/Safin Hamid

The Kurdish Globe

IHEC cannot hold elections on Sept. 27

The second round of provincial council elections in Iraq were supposed to be held three years ago. Iraqi Independent Higher Electoral Committee has requested the government delay the elections for a few more months. This delay has significantly limited the councils, authority.

Although IHEC has not stopped the preparations for the elections, it is possible the elections won't be held on September 27, as scheduled, and might be delayed for a few more months.

Judge Sardar Abdulkarim, member of the IHEC, states that it is too early to decide whether the election will be delayed or not, but this issue is being discussed between the Kurdistan Regional Government and political groups and a decision will be made later.

Ali Qadir, head of the region's election board, told The Kurdish Globe the head of IHEC has estimated a month or more extension of the deadline, because it needs more time to prepare.

A source from the commission stated that it has officially estimated a two- to three-month delay due to technical issues and the instability of the commission during the transition period.

The current commission's authority has been working since April 2011, and its period in office has been extended until July, but an election for a new commission must take place in July, something that will mean changes in the commission, making it difficult for it to be ready for the election in September.

Qadir says changes in the roles in the commission will have an impact and delay the process. He believes Kurdistan Region needs an independent electoral commission to manage the processes related to the Region's internal issues.

Abdulkarim also believes the end of the authority of the current commission and the election of a new commission will delay the process.

Khasraw Goran, head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party's electoral board, thinks that besides the internal factors, the political situation in the country has a role in delaying the provincial council election process.

Preparations continue in the Kurdistan Region. Voter registration centers will open soon and registering political entities should start by the end of May. According to Qadir, at the end of the deadline for the registration of the political entities, it will be clear who will participate in the process. After the deadline, no new applications will be accepted.

Regarding the postponement of the election process, IHEC and KRG must agree, and consult with political parties in the Region. Gorran Movement said it will respect the deadline set by IHEC and will not interfere in its affairs. However, if the commission recommends postponement due to technical, legal or political factors, or until a new commission is elected, it would respect that although it would prefer the elections to be on time.

Bayan Noori, head of the Kurdistan Islamic Union, stated that the party supports the idea of holding the process in its original time frame, but if the IHEC situation continues in Baghdad, and KRG still doesn't have its own electoral commission, it will accept the postponement should reluctantly.

Noori says that organizing the election is vital as the activities of the councils have been paralyzed, because they were elected for four years but have served for almost seven.