Thursday, 5 March 2009

Iraqi CP calls for national campaign to amend election law

Iraqi Communist Party Calls for National Campaign
to Amend the Provincial Elections Law

The Iraqi Communist Party has called for a review of the election law for provincial councils, and for launching a national campaign "to make a concerted effort through joint action" in order to prevent a repetition of "injustice" in the forthcoming district councils election, or in any subsequent elections.

This came at a press conference held on 28 February 2009 at the headquarters of the party’s Central Committee in Baghdad. Special attention was given to exposing the flagrant abuse of the essence of democracy because of the election law for provincial elections.

A statement issued by the Political Bureau of the Central Committee on this subject was first read out. Questions from journalists and media representatives then followed. In response to a question from "Al-Mada" newspaper, about whether Article 5 of the Law for Provincial Elections had been ratified in parliament through a political deal, Comrade Mufid Jazairy, member of the Political Bureau, explained that what is important is that the law must be reviewed, regardless of whether or not it had been passed through a deal. "The Article was passed in any case. It should now be reconsidered in view of the harm inflicted upon the voters," he said. Jazairy added: "We call for replacing this Article with another to ensure that the remaining votes do not go to those who should not get them, regardless of the electoral quotient."

Comrade Subhi Jumaili, member of the Central Committee, said that the legislative aspect of the issue, with respect to the election law, is the responsibility of the Parliament. But, he added, the Independent Electoral Commission should have raised its voice with regard to Article 5 because it has experience in this area. "The Commission bears responsibility for part of the problem because it did not explain the injustice that this Article contained."

A reporter for Radio Sawa enquired whether the problem lies in the Article itself or in the system used by the Electoral Commission in its work. Jazairy said that Iraqi CP's statement pointed out the failure of the Commission in some aspects of the electoral process, "but when we talk about the election law, it is the responsibility of the Parliament. I have here the text which we proposed (in parliament) on 15 July 2008. The proposed Article would have given the vacant seats (after considering the electoral quotient) to the open lists which have the bigger number of votes, according to their sequence, whereas the text of the current law gives these votes to the bigger lists."

Comrade Hassan Akif, member of the Political Bureau, stressed the need to mobilize all the people who were affected, or would be affected, by the unjust election law. This includes political parties as well as the millions of people (more than 2 million people in the recent election) whose votes have gone in vain. "This action has to start from Parliament and pass through the political parties, until the unjust Article is amended."

Forged Certificates

Kazem Gilan, a journalist from "Al-Sabah" newspaper, raised a question about the fact that the preliminary results revealed that 250 candidates in the elections had presented forged academic certificates, and asked whether the Electoral Commission should have been alerted to this. Comrade Akif explained that the Integrity Commission had announced the existence of forged certificates, and that a bigger number are now being checked. "As pointed out by our party statement, in this regard, the Integrity Commission was more serious than the Electoral Commission. We believe that that the principal punishment must be meted out to the political entities that had presented candidates with forged certificates."

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