Iraqi President holds an extensive meeting on election observation: Ensuring a fair and free election is a national imperative to remedy the situation in Iraq, to support democratic process that was questionable


On Tuesday, June 8, 2021, the President of the Republic of Iraq, Barham Salih held an extensive and important meeting to observe the next country's federal election. It was held at al-Salam Palace in Baghdad. The meeting was attended by the Vice-chairman of parliamentary legal committee, Deputy Special Representative for Political Affairs and Electoral Assistance of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), the Head of electoral administration in the Independent High Electoral Commission, the Head of the Bar Association, and the Chief of the Iraqi Journalist's Syndicate, the Head of Lawyers Union and a numbers of networks for electoral observation and civil society organizations.
Meeting participants discussed the ongoing preparations for holding the country’s next election, so it should be held as scheduled in October 2021. They spoke about the role of the relevant executive and legislative State institutions, the role of the United Nations and other social and civil actors, in monitoring elections. These roles aim to ensure that the right conditions for the next federal election, must be assured in order to ensure it was free and fair and that there was no fraud or manipulation, and what happened in the previous electoral process, that undermines people's confidence in electoral and democratic process, will not again be allowed to occur.
 President Salih spoke about how important the next federal election would be for Iraq that it is crucial and of great importance for the two major reasons. It was followed by popular movement and by broad national consensus that the situation in the country needed radical reforms and would be an important test of the country's democratic path and its future. He added that one of the causes of political tension in the country was the dysfunction of the electoral process, which had lost much of its legitimacy as it is suspected of fraud.
The President underlined that restoring voter confidence in the electoral process and ensuring broad participation in the country's next elections must be a top priority.  Elections will be the peaceful and legitimate course to make the change, remedy the situation in the country and support the democratic process that was questionable as a result of serious irregularities regarding the fraud in the previous elections. It is vital to restore Iraqi people's confidence as it is necessary for the Iraqi to have an access to fully express their free will as they are the sources of all powers. To do so, we have to create the right conditions for the next federal election, in order to make sure that the ballot was conducted freely and fairly, and this would strengthen the foundations of the democratic system, and all of that are national needs that are indisputable.
He said that meeting these needs is the responsibility of all the Government, the House of Representatives and the political forces that had contributed to the formation of the government, and supported its main objective in organizing an early election in order to correct the mistakes that harmed the political trajectory, and to move beyond the accumulated errors. Therefore, we have to admit that there is structural dysfunction.
He noted that there is an active and serious role of the United Nations in monitoring and overseeing the election, and the important role of trade unions, social and civil actors and networks for monitoring throughout the country, in promoting large turnout of the people in the elections to ensure fairness and justice, can't be denied.
During the extensive meeting, all the participants agreed upon the need for Iraqi elections in all its stages to be free and fair, without any fraud or manipulation and held in line with the highest standards of transparency, and there should be further cooperation and mutual support through official and civilian levels in order to have a serious oversight that build successful conditions for electoral process.