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Iraq: Elections

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 11 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the electoral process for the forthcoming provincial elections in Iraq; and if he will make a statement. (253197)

The provincial elections on 31 January 2009 mark another milestone in Iraq’s development as a democracy. Groups who boycotted the last provincial elections and who have turned against violence will participate this time around, and for the first time the Iraqi authorities have been completely responsible for planning and running a democratic election.

The electorate are able to vote for individual candidates, rather than just political groupings, and as an acknowledgment of the important role both minorities and women play in Iraq, the election law provides quotas for both.

The Independent High Electoral Commission, with the assistance of the UN, has been putting in place since the beginning of 2008 the mechanisms to ensure the elections are free and fair. These include voter information and education campaigns, the training of over 49,000 polling station staff, the accreditation of nearly 260,000 election observers and a robust complaints procedure which will allow the investigation of complaints before the final results are certified. In addition, through local non-governmental organisations and civil society, more than 2,000 electoral education activities each month have taken place in recent months.

Further information on the electoral process can be found at:

www.uniraq.org