The United Nations mission in Iraq said today it will, at the request of the country’s Council of Representatives, play the role of adviser and observer in the ongoing selection of the board of the electoral commission, in an effort to enhance the transparency and credibility of the process.
The request that the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) play an advisory and observation role in the selection of the Board of Commissioners of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) was made by the Council of Representatives, through its Committee of Experts, the mission said in a press release.
“This request demonstrates the continued confidence of the Iraqi Institutions to entrust UNAMI with an expert role in this important process,” said Jerzy Skuratowicz, the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Iraq, who is in charge of political affairs.
“The mission is committed to continue providing impartial advice to help identify candidates that posses the necessary integrity, professionalism and high knowledge of the elections. It is important for the future of Iraq that the upcoming electoral events are conducted in a credible, inclusive and transparent manner,” he added.
UNAMI’s advisory role is based on international comparative practices and does not include voting in the Committee of Experts’ decision, the mission said.
“Iraq has a busy electoral calendar ahead, including the governorates’ council elections in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, the long overdue district and sub-district elections and the regional and national events due to take place over the next few years,’ said José Maria Aranaz, UNAMI’s chief electoral adviser.
“The credibility of any upcoming electoral process and referendum will depend on the credibility, integrity and professionalism of the new Board of Commissioners,” he added.
The first phase of the short-listing of candidates has started and the final vote and selection of the nine new commissioners is expected to take place by the end of March next year. The entire process is expected to last six months.
Since 2004, UNAMI and the UN country team have supported numerous electoral events, including voter registration updates in 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009; the national and governorates council elections in 2005, 2009 and 2010; the constitutional referendum in 2005; and the regional elections in the Kurdistan region in 2008.
At the request of the Iraqi Government, the UN team also assisted in the selection of electoral commissioners to the IHEC in 2004 and 2007 and heads of the IHEC Governorate Electoral Office.