Some 5,000 observers to monitor Iraqi election, with special focus on disputed territories
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi High Independent Electoral Commission (IHEC) said on Friday that about five thousand local and international observers are preparing to monitor parliamentary elections that will be held across the embattled nation on Oct. 10.
This comes after multiple complaints claiming electoral fraud or other violations having been registered so far, particularly in territories disputed by the federal government in Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdistan Region.
The head of the legal department for elections of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Hawar Mohammed, said that changes to Iraq's electoral system could be beneficial in this respect. The country, according to Iraq's newly-amended electoral law, is divided into 80 voting districts, while previous elections have had less than 20.
Mohammed told Kurdistan 24 that the new system "does not leave enough opportunities for fraud" when compared to the last parliamentary elections in 2018, which were marred by charges of fraud and manipulation.
Mohammed explained that more than 600 foreign observers will monitor the election process, stressing that “we can not only depend on foreign observers, but we have to depend on local observers, both independent and within the NGOs.”
The elections will be monitored by at least 600 international observers, including teams sent from the United Nations and the European Union.
Mohammed explained that more than 600 foreign observers will take part, stressing, "We can not only depend on foreign observers, but we have to rely on local observers as well, both independent and within non-governmental organizations (NGOs)."
More than 3,000 candidates will participate in the elections, vying for 329 seats in the Iraqi parliament.
The coordinator of the Shams Network for Election Monitoring, Hogir Chato, told Kurdistan 24 that running elections in the disputed territories requires "more caution and attention," pointing out the necessity of both foreign and local observers as they both serve different purposes.
On Friday, Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani and Iraqi President Barham Salih said that it was an absolute necessity that elections be "free and fair."
Barzani received Salih in Erbil, where the two discussed the latest political developments in the country, Erbil-Baghdad relations, and the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled to be held next month.
The two, both ethnic Kurds, reiterated that resolving outstanding issues between the federal government and the autonomous Kurdistan Region was of utmost importance, according to a statement from Barzani’s office.