Security Plan to be put in place for protecting polling stations
Memorandum of understanding signed between IHEC and KRG Interior Ministry for forming a security committee
The Interior Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Kareem Sinjary, met with the head of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), Sarbast Mustafa, on August 21 in the Kurdish capital of Erbil.
After talking about the issues that IHEC and voters might face during the parliamentary and provincial elections, a memorandum of understanding was signed which sought to put in place a security plan for protecting polling stations during the elections.
It was decided at the meeting to form a security committee headed by Minister Sinjary, the governors of Erbil, Sulaimaniya, and Duhok and representatives of the IHEC and the Department of Foreign Relations. The committee will also have branches in the provinces which report to the main committee.
The IHEC is a professional, governmental, independent and neutral body supervised by the Council of Representatives and solely responsible for organizing, implementing and supervising all kinds of elections and referenda.
The special voting process was another topic discussed at the meeting: members of the police and security forces usually vote in a special voting process before the regular voting begins.
The Kurdistan Region’s parliamentary elections are due to be held on September 21. Despite attempts made by some elements to postpone the process, the IHEC has reiterated that it does not intend to delay the parliamentary elections, and that the process will remain on schedule.
The IHEC has already received candidate lists from 31 of the political entities which will be taking part in the forthcoming Kurdish parliamentary elections; two political parties-the Kurdistan Conservative Party and the Turkmen Elli Party—have withdrawn to date.
The constitution states that candidates must be over 25, hold a high school certificate or higher, and have a clean criminal record with no outstanding accusations against them.
Each political party also has to nominate one of its leading members to head the candidate list. Based on the new electoral law, the elections will have a semi-open listed format.
The IHEC also announced its willingness to hold provincial elections in the Kurdistan Region on November 21.
“We have received the letter from the regional government setting November 21 as the date for the provincial elections, and we will begin preparations today to conduct these elections,” the Head of the commission, Serbst Mustafa, announced.
The IHEC had earlier announced that it had submitted a request to the KRG stating its inability to hold the provincial elections on the same day as the parliamentary elections on September 21, as originally scheduled.
The KRG announced last week that it had identified November 21 as a date for the holding of provincial elections in the Region.