ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – 60 candidates and political parties have been sanctioned for violating electoral regulations, Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) said on Tuesday.
“IHEC has issued strict punishment against 60 candidates and political parties that are participating in the upcoming Iraqi parliamentary elections,” IHEC spokesperson Kareem al-Timimi told local news outlets.
Campaigning for the national election kicked off in Iraq on Saturday and in the Kurdistan Region on Sunday.
Timimi stated that no candidates or parties are immune from punishment, should they violate IHEC's regulations or instructions while campaigning.
Parties found by IHEC to be in violation can be fined five million Iraqi dinars ($4,200) while candidates face a fine of three million Iraqi dinars ($2,500), according to the commission’s spokesperson.
Timimi warned that fines would double if the candidates and parties are found guilty of a second infraction and that candidates would be disqualified from the election following a third.
The Iraqi parliamentary election is scheduled to be held on May 12. A total of 6,904 candidates representing multiple parties are competing to fill 329 seats in Parliament.
The highest number of candidates is in the province of Baghdad, with 1,985 listed candidates, and the lowest is in Muthanna, with 102.
On Sunday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi publicly expressed concern about electoral mechanisms put in place by IHEC, but fell short of condemning the commision or calling for corrective action.
It is the first election following the defeat of the Islamic State (IS), and millions of people remain displaced across Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.
Editing by John J. Catherine