Iraq’s IHEC: unprecedented citizen demand for electoral record updates ahead of local elections

Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) has noted an unprecedented demand from eligible citizens to update their electoral records as the country prepares for local elections. The Commission also highlighted the significant increase in the number of political parties, alliances, and candidates participating in the provincial council elections compared to previous elections since 2003.

Judge Abbas Al-Fatlawi, the head of the electoral administration at the Commission, expressed that preparations for the elections are well underway, including the design and printing of special ballot papers and voter cards. He also mentioned that electoral campaigns will commence following the drawing of numbers for alliances, parties, candidates, and individuals.

Judge Al-Fatlawi emphasized that the local elections would proceed as scheduled and called on citizens to participate in the vote.

Earlier today, IHEC announced that nearly 70 political parties and alliances and over 6,000 candidates will participate in the upcoming provincial council elections scheduled for next month.

Nibras Abu Souda, a member of the IHEC media team, said that the competition will involve 29 political parties, 39 political alliances, and 66 individual candidates, including minority candidates. Unlike the 2021 elections, which were based on individual nominations, these elections will use an open list system.

Iraq is scheduled to hold provincial elections on November 6, 2023. The polls will be the first for provincial councils in 13 years after they were dissolved amid anti-government protests in 2019.

The elections will be held in 15 of 18 Iraqi provinces, excluding the three provinces in the autonomous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq.

The elections are a critical test for the Iraqi government and a potential turning point in the country’s political climate. They will also be the first elections under a new electoral law passed in 2020.

The new electoral law reintroduces the Sainte-Laguë method of proportional representation, which is expected to benefit smaller political parties and independent candidates. The law also reduces the number of seats in provincial councils and requires that at least 25% of candidates be women.

Some major political parties have already announced their intention to participate in the elections, including the Sadrist Movement, the State of Law Coalition, and the Kurdistan Democratic Party.

However, there are some concerns about the security and fairness of the elections. Some political groups have accused the government of trying to manipulate the electoral process, and there is a risk of violence on election day.

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