Iraqi Presidencies defines best practice for next federal elections


During today’s meeting on 16 November, 2020, participants agreed on what was needed to ensure free and fair elections in Iraq next year.
The meeting, at Baghdad Palace, was attended by the President of the Iraqi Republic Barham Salih, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Khadimi, Speaker of the Parliament Mohammed al-Habousi, the Head of the Supreme Judicial Council, Chief Justice Faiq Zidan, members of the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), which is charged with managing the elections, and United Nations Special Representative to Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert.
Voting procedures were discussed, with focus on the security conditions required for Iraqis to be able to cast their ballots in safety, as well as the appropriate management of electoral systems by IHEC and other authorities. 
The importance of biometric voter registration was stressed. A card with a digital chip containing voters’ personal information would be essential for secure polling, meeting participants agreed. They concluded that voter registration should be ramped up before the elections and that internally displaced persons and Iraqis abroad should also be assured of access to biometric voter registration. 
It was also vital that international companies with expertise in this area be contracted to assist with Iraq’s elections, meeting participants said, and that this be done in consultation with experts from the United Nations. They confirmed that it was equally important that IHEC be supported by the United Nations in monitoring and oversight to ensure that the Iraqi election was held in line with international standards, and to guarantee the integrity of the vote. 
Attendees at the meeting also agreed that a national information campaign was needed to inform Iraqis about the electoral procedure, to restore voter confidence in local ballots and to motivate higher voter turnout.


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