EU condemns threats against Iraqi election commission, UN

Merged flags of Iraq and the European Union. (Photo: EU Media Center)
Merged flags of Iraq and the European Union. (Photo: EU Media Center)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The European Union on Saturday said it deplored recent threats of violence against Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), and others following the publication of preliminary results of national elections held earlier this month.

“Such violent manifestations have no place in a democracy,” read a statement posted on social media. “The EU recalls that voting on election day was largely peaceful, orderly and well-organised.”

When Iraqis filed into voting centers around the nation on Oct. 10, the EU assessed that they were largely able to freely express their will in what it called “well-managed, competitive elections despite low turnout and problematic legal framework,” as reported by the EU Election Observation Mission.

Read More: Reasons behind Iraq’s record low voter turnout are not all political, says chief EU observer

It was the first time the EU deployed an election-monitoring mission upon request from Iraqi authorities.

Pro-Iran parties, such as the Fatah Alliance that performed poorly in the election, have disputed the results and staged public protests claiming fraud.

Dr. Hamdi Malik, an Associate Fellow with the Washington Institute, wrote in an analysis piece that Iran-backed groups have blamed UNAMI and its head, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, and the United Arab Emirates for their own failure at the polls.

“Once it became clear that the main muqawama (Iran-backed groups) lists were among the biggest losers, various groups accused UNAMI of conspiring to ensure this outcome and issued threats against the organization and Hennis-Plasschaert in particular,” he wrote.

The EU statement read, “Any elections-related appeal or complaint should be addressed through existing legal procedures. It is crucial that all parties use these legal means to address any grievances they may have over the outcome of the polls,” adding that the EU looks forward to working closely with the next Iraqi government in the implementation of urgently needed reforms.

On Friday, the United Nations Security Council also condemned threats of violence against UNAMI and IHEC.

Read More: Kurdistan Region PM welcomes UNSC statement on Iraq elections

“The members of the Security Council deplored the recent threats of violence against UNAMI, IHEC personnel, and others,” the UNSC statement said.