The High Independent Electoral Commission in Iraq has confirmed its willingness to cooperate with Kurdistan to carry out the elections in the region.
It was during a visit to the Commission’s headquarters in the capital, Baghdad, by a delegation from the presidency of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, led by its chief of staff, Fawzi Hariri, who was received by the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, Justice Omar Ahmed Muhammad, to discuss ways for the Commission to oversee the elections in Iraqi Kurdistan.
This meeting comes in view of the ambiguity surrounding the fate of the elections which must be organized in the region next November, in the fear that they cannot be held during the current year, which increases the fears of a law void.
This came in light of the escalating dispute between the two main Kurdish parties, the Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union, which reached the point of fights and a fight between their deputies in the regional parliament about two weeks, about the modification of the election law, dividing the constituencies, the commission and the registers of voters, and distributing the seats of the quota of 11 seats.
Observers believe that the Independent High Commission for Iraqi Elections, organizing legislative elections in the region, is a way out of the crisis.
Others believe that this could further complicate the situation, since the parliament of the region will not be able, in the light of what has been issued by the Federal Court, to proceed with the modification of the electoral law, which constitutes one main points of contention between political parties, which have hindered the holding of general elections on time in 2022.
Opinion of the Commission
A member of the media office of the Iraqi Election Commission, Dr Imad Jamil, said in an interview with Sky News Arabia:
During the meeting, we discussed with the delegation of the presidency of the region the new data in the light of the decision of the Federal Court that the extension of the Parliament of Iraqi Kurdistan is unconstitutional, as well as the file of the elections legislation in the region. When the Chairman and the members of the Council of Commissioners affirmed that the Commission was fully prepared to cooperate with the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in organizing its elections as much as possible, and that these discussions helped to facilitate certain issues so that the Commission could directly supervise these elections. The decisions of the Federal Supreme Court are final and binding on all parties, be it the federal government, the regional government or the Independent High Electoral Commission, and we therefore rely on its decision for our approval. With regard to the electoral law of the region, it must be complete when we receive it so that we can, in the light of its paragraphs and provisions, supervise and implement the elections, and we have nothing to do as a commission with disputes on the electoral law and on the quota of the components, because these are questions of brotherhood in Kurdistan.
In turn, Iraqi legal adviser Muhammad al-Samarrai said in an interview with Sky News Arabia:
After the decision of the Federal Court, there is a constitutional problem in terms of the transformation of the regional government into an interim government only, and therefore it cannot make decisions other than itself at all, and the end of the mandate of the commission regional election is also a second problem, as it cannot oversee elections in the region. Therefore, the solution is for the Independent Federal Election Commission to organize the region’s elections in addition to its federal competences, pursuant to the provision of Article 109 of the Iraqi constitution, which stipulates that the tasks of the federal authorities are to preserve Iraq’s unity, integrity, independence, sovereignty and its federal democratic system, and to emphasize the peaceful transfer of power through democratic constitutional methods and mechanisms, in accordance with Article 6 of the Iraqi Constitution.
Last October, the Parliament of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq extended its legislative term until the end of 2023, in a majority vote of 80 deputies out of 111, who voted in favor of the law extending the fifth session of Parliament, which ended in November 2022, due to the impact of political differences, in particular between the two parties, the two major Kurdish parties, the Democratic Union and the Patriotic Union, which led to the failure of the general elections scheduled for the fall of 2022.
A statement released by him at the time said the extension was a step “to prevent the emergence of a legal vacuum and to represent the principle of continuity of constitutional institutions in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.”
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