Global Policy Forum

In Order to Postpone the Election




By Ammar al-Sawad

October 15, 2009


The moment that the previous provincial councils elections ended, talk emerged about the weakness within the [election monitoring] Commission and the blocs which were displeased with their results demanded the questioning or changing of the Commission under the banner of its failure to manage the electoral dossier. It is the blocs' constitutional right to make this demand and it is the right of parliament to reform, amend or change the Commission. However, the postponement of the alleged reform process with the imminence of the elections is highly suspicious and is raising numerous questions and fears.

"The provincial councils elections were held at the end of January, i.e. over nine months ago, during which time the Commission was the object of media talk and was at the top of the parliament's agenda. For their part, the majority of the deputies expressed their dissatisfaction with its performance and repeatedly reiterated the need to change or reform it. However, their talk was never translated into action until two or three weeks ago, which was highly dubious and puzzling. Is the parliament asking us to believe it when it says that this delay was not due to political reasons and was not concealing one of the notorious concoctions of the different alliances?

"I will assume that this is true, that parliament forgot to adopt the practical steps to handle what it referred to as being mistakes and electoral violations committed by the Commission, that it needed a lot of time before adopting the first practical steps and that the parliamentary blocs are concerned about the integrity of the elections. But the parliament should not use the lack of time and the necessity to handle the pending electoral dossiers as a pretext to postpone the elections, for this would not only constitute a violation of the constitution, but also a belittlement of the wishes of the people. Moreover, some are describing what is happening as being the beginning of a domestic coup against the political process.

"Certain figures are asking why we are rushing things since the parliament never officially spoke about the postponement of the electoral process, and although this is true, we do not have to wait until the parliament issues such an official announcement in light of many indications pointing in that direction. Indeed, since the parliament speaker was changed, we started hearing statements about the possibility or necessity to postpone the elections, while the parliament did not settle the controversy over the two main foundations for the elections: the electoral law and the Commission. In the meantime, there are quasi certain pieces of information saying that the postponement option was on the agenda of certain political leaders.

"Therefore, our fears are not groundless and whether the information is true or not, the constitution previously set the term of the parliament and any extension of this term would be a violation of the constitution... The paradox in this context is that Iraq managed to stage two successful parliamentary elections in the past, at gunpoint and under the threats of the armed groups and the boycotting of important sides. These elections were held back then in respect of the constitutional deadline and it all happened at a time when the Americans were still present and played an important role to secure their staging. However, Obama adopted a different approach based on a non-interference in the details. So will the Iraqi politicians allow others to say that they were unable to do what they should in the absence of a monitor?


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