IHEC decides to count the votes in central offices
IHEC’s decision to transfer ballot boxes to central offices aiming to count the votes sparks wave of protests
Iraq’s High Independent Electoral Commission (IHEC) has announced that the counting process of the votes in the upcoming parliamentary elections will not be taking place in the voting centers. The commission has stated that all the ballot boxes should be transferred to five offices, which are indicated by the commission. Kurdistan parliament and members of the Legal Committee of the parliament say that the decision is against Kurdistan Electoral Law.
In a recent press conference, Sarbast Mustafa, Head of IHEC, said that, “The commis- sion has decided to open five centralized counting offices in each of the three Kurdish provinces, Erbil, Sulaimani and Duhok, of the semi autonomous Kurdistan Region.”
He additionally stated that when the voting process will finish, all the ballot boxes should be moved from the voting centers to the five major counting offices, adding that several employees will then count the votes.
To further clarify the counting process, Mustafa announced that the process will start with attendance of the representatives of the different political parties, adding that all the parties can also send their electoral observers to the five counting offices to monitor the process.
The IHEC’s decision made some of the political parties and parliamentary committees worry.
Tariq Jawhar, Media Advisor to the parliament, says that it asks the commission not to transfer the ballot boxes to outside the voting centers.
Ahemd Warti, a member of the Legal Committee of the parliament, replied the decision and said: “The commission’s decision is against the newly amended Kurdistan Electoral Law.”
The law says that the counting process might be taking place in the voting centers, and not elsewhere. “The legal committee has considered the decision as illicit.”
The majority of the committee member prepared a letter and sent it to the Kurdistan parliament presidency, asking to implement the rules as they are mentioned in the law. The parliamentary election is expected to be conducted on September 21, 2013.