Iraq Electoral Commission faces no confidence vote amidst fraud scandals

Iraqi lawmakers voted yesterday to express their lack of acceptance in the answers provided by the Iraqi High Electoral Commission, who were being accused of helping some candidates to gain an unfair advantage over others seeking election.

The chief executive of the Electoral Commission, Miqdad Al-Sharifi, now faces a no confidence vote that could see him lose his job, paving the way for a new commissioner.

119 lawmakers voted to express their dissatisfaction in the commissioner’s answers to the charges that the Commission was responsible for technical failures, counterfeit votes and fraud as well as corruption whilst administering previous elections, Al Jazeera reported.

However, the vote was close, as 118 parliamentarians declared that they were satisfied by the Commission’s answers given during the special session held to interrogate them on these allegations.

The Commission has long faced calls to reform and undergo a change of the guard, with Al-Sharifi and others on the governing council accused of being partisan personalities representing the interests of different parties.

Firebrand Shia cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr has organised several mass protests in Baghdad to demonstrate against alleged electoral corruption. The Sadrists have long claimed that the electoral process lacked transparency, and that the Commission was responsible for voter fraud. They have also complained that the governing council was selected by political parties, and was therefore not impartial.

Read: Supporters of Muqtada Al-Sadr take to the streets

In its responses to these accusations, the Commission denied the allegations against it and said that it could not be held responsible for the state of the country, in reference to widespread corruption, nepotism and political instability.

Iraq is due to undergo local elections in September this year, with general elections to be held at an undetermined time in 2018. If significant enough numbers of Iraqi lawmakers continue to question its transparency, however, it could mar the legitimacy of any future election results, bringing the already weak political process into doubt.

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