Iraqi nationals abroad cannot partake in elections: commission

Iraqi nationals outside the country cannot vote in elections
2 min read
23 March, 2021
The decision was taken due to combination of 'technical, financial and health issues linked to the Covid-19 crisis', said Jumana Gailai, a spokesperson for Iraq's electoral commission.
Early elections were a demand of demonstrators when protest erupted in Iraq in 2019 [Getty]
Iraqi nationals outside the country will not be able to participate in upcoming elections, the electoral commission announced on Tuesday.

The decision was taken due to a combination of "technical, financial and health issues linked to the Covid-19 crisis", said Jumana Gailai, a spokesperson for the body charged with overseeing Iraq's election later this year in an official statement.

The foreign ministry claims that Iraqi embassies and consulates would be unable to assist in the election process due to administrative difficulties.

Gailai also cited concerns over the length of time needed to biometrically register non-resident Iraqis as well as the issue relating to conducting elections in foreign jurisdictions.

Some one million Iraqis will not be able to partake in elections this year, Ghalai told Rudaw.

Eradaa movement MP, Hussain Arab, whose movement's leader is has joined Nouri Al-Maliki's coalition for this year's vote, welcome the decision and said that those who wanted to participate "should return to Iraq".

He claimed that elections in 2018 had resulted in fraud in some countries, without specifying them, while acknowledging there could be opposition to in some political quarters.

In contrast, Ali Al-Issawi, a leader in the majority-Sunni Iraqi Forces Alliance, decried the move.

"We oppose the marginalisation of the voice of any Iraqi, and depriving them of opportunity to participate in the electoral process outside of Iraq," in a press conference addressing local media, he said: 

"The groups outside of Iraq that will be denied the opportunity to vote are the Sunni and Kurdish communities. This will impact political representation for these groups."

 Read also: The Iraq Report: Killings, abductions rise immediately after Pope Francis' visit

Many doubt the elections will be held by their specified date in Iraq since they have been hit by multiple delays. Iraq's dominant political factions are also seen to be biding for time to bolster preparedness.

Last year, Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi announced early elections, one of the demands from demonstrators when protests erupted in central and northern Iraq in October 2019.

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