Interfering in the upcoming Iraqi polls by force or through threats is punishable by at least one year in prison, according to a list of offences issued today by an independent United Nations-backed elections body.
Ahead of the 31 January provincial elections in the nascent democracy, the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) said that intimidating or bribing its staff or voters is also carries a punishment of imprisonment for at least one year.
Other punishable offences include: carrying weapons inside or within 100 meters of a polling centre interfering with electoral materials, such as ballots destroying candidates' posters and impersonating a voter.
“Political parties will be punished for the offenses committed by their members, candidates and agents, payable by a fine of 50 million Dinars, and may be denied the votes they obtained in associated polling locations,” IHEC said in an update.
Earlier this week, a UN-backed blog was launched in Baghdad in a bid to motivate voters to go to the polls.
The blog called “Vote for Iraq” was launched with the support of the UN-led International Election Assistance Team (IEAT).
The site encourages users to use several formats – including photos – to express their views and enables links with other websites and online forums.