The United Nations envoy in Iraq today urged all political forces in the country’s parliament – the Council of Representatives – to reach agreement on the selection of the new Board of Commissioners of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), and find a solution that serves the legitimate democratic aspirations of the Iraqi people.
“IHEC is the most important guarantee of holding free and fair elections in Iraq, fundamental for safeguarding and sustaining the democratic process,” the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Iraq, Martin Kobler, said in a news release.
“The next elections due in Iraq – in early 2013 and in 2014 – can only be held on time if the new IHEC is selected without further delay. I call on the parties to make integrity, competence and independence the main criteria for selecting the Board of Commissioners, in accordance with Iraqi law,” he added.
According to media reports, Iraq’s political blocs are locked in a long-running stalemate over the selection of nine members for the IHEC Board of Commissioners, with the dispute causing concerns over whether those chosen will be able to exercise independence, especially in light of provincial elections planned for next year.
“It is worth mentioning that only 60 applicants remain on the shortlist,” Mr. Kobler added. “The Council of Representatives should select the new Board of Commissioners from this list. In accordance with the IHEC Law, the Council of Representatives should ‘give due consideration to women’s representation.’”
A delegation from the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), which Mr. Kobler heads, met on Monday with the Speaker of the Council of Representatives, Osama Al-Nujaifi, and stressed to him the necessity for the political parties to expedite the debate over the composition of the IHEC Board of Commissioners, and to select a new body without any further delay in order to ensure the timely organization of upcoming elections.