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Iraq’s elections: Commission members selected along sectarian lines
First Published: 2012-09-17

Four members come from Shiite National Alliance, two from secular, Sunni-backed Iraqiya, and two from Kurdish Alliance.


BAGHDAD - The Iraqi parliament on Monday approved new board members for the country's election commission after months of deadlock over the vote-organising body's makeup, an MP said.


Samira al-Mussawi, a member of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's State of Law coalition, said that parliament -- after "deep disagreements" between MPs -- approved eight new members for the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC).

Four members came from the Shiite National Alliance, two from the secular, Sunni-backed Iraqiya, and two from the Kurdish Alliance.

A yet to be selected ninth member must be from an Iraqi minority, Mussawi said, adding that under a deal reached between the various blocs, there will also be nine deputies from blocs not represented among the nine members of the board.

The head of the commission is to be selected from among the nine board members.

The United Nations mission in Iraq has issued several statements emphasizing the importance of selecting a new IHEC board, including one on September 10 in which UN envoy Martin Kobler said the commission was "the most important guarantee of holding free and fair elections in Iraq."

The new commission may have to contend with political pressure in addition to the challenges of organising elections, including local polls that are to be held next March.

Faraj al-Haidari, the outgoing head of IHEC, said in late August that he and two other members were found guilty of graft and handed suspended one-year prison sentences.

Haidari has insisted he did nothing illegal, and that the charge was a move against IHEC that threatened its independence.

Source: Middle East Online 
 


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