Kurdish region electoral commission says it is not ready for August 20 election

Kurdish region electoral commission says it is not ready for August 20 election
6 years ago

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SULAIMANI – The Kurdistan Region’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) says it does not have the necessary legal requirements in place to carry out an August 20 presidential election, following a call last week by current Kurdish President Masoud Barzani for the region to elect his replacement.

Speaking on NRT’s Panorama program on Thursday, Deputy IHEC Chairman Sulaiman Mustafa said the commission is meant to decide on elections, not the president, and that IHEC had requested meetings with the President and Prime Minister in late May, but that the two leaders were unavailable.

“We asked to meet [Barzani] and [the] KRG Prime Minister 20 days ago, but we couldn’t meet them. We also asked the Kurdistan Parliament to help us,” he said.

IHEC has said it will not be responsible if elections are not ready to take place by the August date and that the commission does not have the time or legally required elements necessary to have elections.

Some of those requirements include a budget, commission offices in the various provinces, employees and election observers.

The Kurdistan Parliament met with members of IHEC on Wednesday at the request of several MPs to discuss issues in setting up the election.

IHEC issued a statement following Barzani’s call on June 12, saying it would prepare a report on the requirements to carry out an election under such short notice.

Barzani is nearing the end of two and a half consecutive terms, amounting to ten years in office. His last term, which was due to end in July 2013, was extended by two years by Kurdish lawmakers.

The president recently called for an August 20 election to choose his replacement and Chief of Staff to Barzani, Dr. Fuad Hussein, said the decision was based on a Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) law for the presidency established in 2005.

IHEC, however, issued a statement following Barzani’s call, stating that it would take up to six months to prepare for a free and fair election.