Erbil says new Iraqi order will make it difficult for those living in displacement camps to vote in election

Kabarto displacement camp in Kurdistan Region. (Photo: Archive)
Kabarto displacement camp in Kurdistan Region. (Photo: Archive)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The head of the local government in the Kurdistan Region's capital province of Erbil announced on Wednesday that a new order of the federal Iraqi government would make it unduly difficult for internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in camps within the autonomous region to vote in this month's parliamentary elections.

"As members in the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) and the Supreme Security Committee in the Ministry of Interior, or in coordination with the federal government," said Erbil Governor Omed Khoshnaw said in a statement, "we have finished preparations for holding the elections on both private and public polling days."

He then explained, “The problem we face is the displacement camps because of a decision of IHEC, for reasons unknown to us, prevents IDPs to vote inside the displacement camps, requesting to move the ballot boxes outside the camps elsewhere.”

"This is a difficult matter for us and we have clearly informed the federal government that we cannot do this at this point," he said, adding, “We are working to address this matter.”

“Police and security forces are on high alert to ensure a safe and calm atmosphere for voters in Erbil,” he concluded.  

Iraq is emerging from almost two decades of war and insurgency since the 2003 US-led invasion toppled dictator Saddam Hussein. Sunday's parliamentary election is the fifth since then.

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There is little popular hope among Iraqis for meaningful change through the ballot box and widespread disillusionment persists regarding their political representatives in a nation with rampant corruption.