Ayad Allawi: ‘No suitable election environment in Iraq”

Ayad Allawi, Iraq's former interim prime minister and a major party leader. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)
Ayad Allawi, Iraq's former interim prime minister and a major party leader. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Ayad Allawi, former Iraqi prime minister and leader of one of the largest national political parties, told Kurdistan 24 on Friday that the embattled Middle Eastern nation was not ready for the upcoming Oct. 10 parliamentary elections.  

“Corruption, illegal weapons in the hands of militias, armed groups, political money, and regional interference,” he said, “are the reasons for having no suitable election environment in Iraq.”

Allawi, who was the county’s interim prime minister from 2004 – 2005, stated that the reasons for his recent withdrawal from the upcoming October elections are flaws, mostly unspecified, in the electoral mechanism itself.

“Political money is playing a big role, spreading corruption across the country, and there is undue influence of neighboring countries,” Allawi said, before naming Iran and Turkey as the main two offenders in this regard.

Allawi criticized a recent amendment to Iraq’s elections law that divided Iraq into 83 electoral districts, emphasizing his view that the entire nation “should be one election constituency.”

“I’m optimistic of Iraq’s future because of the reaction of the people in Shia-majority areas who were represented in the demonstrators and because, so far, I still have trust in some people,” said the senior politician. “This includes President (Masoud) Barzani and his party (KDP) because they don’t want to see Iraq destroyed. They want to protect Iraq, but at the same time, to get their rights.”

“Eight to nine million Iraqis live abroad, plus the number of the Iraqi refugees, ten to eleven million Iraqis will be deprived of the voting right! How this is possible?” Allawi asked. “We wanted to have an election that would have a positive result and lead to changing the faces.”

In the contentious 2010 Iraqi elections, Allawi came head to head with then Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is close to Iran. Maliki was eventually able to secure the premiership with Allawi accusing Tehran of meddling in the election's outcome.

As the leading member of the National Iraqi Alliance, Allawi won a seat in the 2018 national parliamentary elections. However, he later withdrew from his post after saying the body “failed to fulfill its legislative and oversight role and did not deal seriously and positively with the demands of the popular and mass movement.”