Wednesday, April 04, 2007

ABSOLUTE No to elections this year

Just in case you still think anyone has the SLIGHTEST interest in honoring the commiment to either local elections or the Kirkuk referendum - see the following from the International Electoral Assistance Team (IEAT) and (if you can wade through the gobbledygook) weep. It aint gonna happen. The Kurds have dropped the issue and the Iraq government is going nowhere with it - note that "diplomatic missions" are still being consulted - an indication if any were needed that Iraq has no independence. It is the international community in general and the USA in particular that is putting the brakes on, partly to please Turkey, partly because they are frightened - as always - of the consequences of democracy:

Consultations continue with Iraqi officials and diplomatic missions in Baghdad on the technical requirements of conducting Governorate elections in 2007. Given the timeline proposed by some to hold elections before the end of the year, discussions have focused on potential electoral systems and voter registration requirements. While some advocate for direct representation and constituencies through single or multi-member districting, this fails to take account of the technical difficulty of organizing a voter registration exercise that would allow for voters to be linked to sub-national, sub-governorate constituencies. Consequently, if chosen by the Iraqis, this is operationally not feasible to implement within the next 12 months. For such an election to occur it is likely that a single-governorate district election system would have to be considered.
In addition, any election in 2007 would likely require use of the Public Distribution System (PDS) to create an updated voter register. The PDS has been highly criticized in the past and significant concerns remain if it is to be used as the basis of a voters list. Significantly, use of the PDS will likely disenfranchise internally displaced persons, refugees and other out of country voters. Creation of an entirely new voters register from scratch (not using the PDS) would be extremely difficult to achieve in the short term given the security situation, lack of a fully functioning election commission, an adequate legal framework and continued displacement. The objectives of those advocating for Governorate elections in 2007 seem to be formed without a full understanding of the technical requirements. Consultations continue as does planning with IECI operations for possible election events.

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