ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi electoral commission on Thursday proposed that the federal government hold provincial elections in the country on Nov. 16.
The election was supposed to be held on Dec. 22, 2018, but Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) decided to delay it for a later time back in October 2018. According to the IHEC, they needed at least six months to finish preparations for the electoral process.
“The Commission submitted a proposal to the central government to determine Nov. 16 as the next date to hold local elections in all Iraqi provinces,” the head of IHEC, Maan al-Hittawi, told local Iraqi media.
Iraqi politicians, meanwhile, claim the delay is related to the then-political situation and the failure of the government in providing a necessary budget to hold the elections on time.
“The cost of holding provincial elections would amount to over IQD 263 billion [over USD 220 million],” Hittawi added. He explained that the estimates came after extensive studies conducted with the parliamentary finance committee and the Federal Government of Iraq.
The IHEC head also noted the same polling system used in the May 2018 parliamentary elections would be used again, including the electronic vote-counting devices which caused a notable delay in the announcement of final results due to allegations of fraud and vote rigging by major Iraqi parties.
The Iraqi provincial elections do not include the provinces in the Kurdistan Region (Erbil, Sulaimani, Duhok, and Halabja). The autonomous region holds its own local elections as determined by its regional electoral commission.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany