ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) on Wednesday announced that the provincial elections, which were to take place on Dec. 22, will not be held on time and need to be re-scheduled to a later date.
According to election laws issued by the Iraqi Parliament, the commission needs six months to finish preparations for the electoral process, Maan al-Hitawi, the head of IHEC, said in a statement.
He explained that due to the halting of the commission’s work by the current federal government of Iraq, the IHEC must consult with the new government to set a different date for the provincial elections.
“Preparations for these elections would require at least eight months to a year,” Hitawi said.
He noted that the electoral commission had considered this amount of time to be sufficient, taking into consideration what happened during the parliamentary election in May. New voter cards would also need to be issued and new equipment purchased after a warehouse burned down in Baghdad’s Rusafa earlier in June.
Hamdulla al-Rikabi, an Iraqi lawmaker in Baghdad, told local Iraqi media that the postponement of the provincial elections is related to the current situation in the country. He argued parties are “preoccupied with the formation of the new government,” and that the current government has failed to provide the necessary budget to prepare for the vote.
The Iraqi provincial elections do not include the provinces of the Kurdistan Region, Erbil, Sulaimani, Duhok, and Halabja. The Kurdish semi-autonomous region holds its own local elections as determined by its regional electoral commission.
Editing by Nadia Riva