Global Policy Forum

Doubts Over Transparency of Coming Iraqi Election


Mideast Wire/Sharq al-Awsat
October 12, 2009

On October 12, the Saudi-owned London-based Asharq al-Awsat daily carried the following article by its correspondents in London and Baghdad Shaza al-Jabouri and Rahme al-Salem: "... A new crisis emerged in light of the upcoming Iraqi parliamentary elections, after many deputies from the National Iraqi Alliance have called for the exclusion of the Iraqi expatriates from the voting process while presenting two reasons for their demand, the first being their fear that the elections held outside the country will not be transparent and the second being that very few Iraqis will actually vote while the process will cost the government a lot of money, as was the case during the last elections....

"For his part, Ahmad al-Massoudi, the spokesperson for the Sadrist Movement who recently joined the National Alliance headed by the Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq, rejected those demands saying that the Iraqi constitution gave every citizen the right to vote wherever he was. He agreed however that the elections held abroad might not be that transparent. Al-Massoudi was quoted by Asharq al-Awsat as saying: "We have questioned in parliament the commission in charge of supervising the next elections and it became clear to the Iraqi deputies and the Iraqi people that what some people have been saying about the fact that the commission in charge of supervising the elections was neither fair nor transparent nor above party differences was true. This is something that worries us since it means that despite all the monitoring bodies and the political parties watching it, the commission could not preserve electoral transparency. We have concluded from our interrogation that the commi ssion could not be trusted."

"He added: "They have failed in many ways and they were even responsible for a lot of fraud in the elections results. So, how can this commission be responsible for watching the upcoming elections especially outside of Iraq? These fears are legitimate and every Iraqi shares them, especially since we know that all our neighboring countries are working hard to influence the election results and that huge amounts of money have been allocated to affect the outcome. That is why the Iraqis are trying as much as possible to make sure that the elections will take place normally and with no foul play."...

"For his part, leader in the National Iraqi Alliance Hadi al-Hassani was quoted by Asharq al-Awsat as saying: "The members of the Iraqi parliament have concluded that in the last Iraqi elections, very few Iraqi expatriates participated in the process. And that is why we are trying to encourage them to do so in the coming elections. Huge amounts of money are being spent by the government to ensure that the elections abroad take place in a normal and transparent manner, which is why this money should not be wasted. This is only possible if large numbers of expatriates participate in the process..."

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