Thursday, February 10, 2005

Mosul Elections Drama

The Independent Electoral Commission in Iraq finished its investigation on what happened in Mosul on election day. It published the investigation results two days ago:

because it wasn’t possible to obtain the assistance of local employees, an Iraqi electoral group of about 1200 volunteers from different Iraqi governorates were sent to help and they executed their responsibilities in a courageous and sacrificial manner. In spite of these initiatives, the commission was obliged due to security factors which resulted in not having enough staff and as a consequence the polling centers in the governorate were reduced from 330 to 93 only. 43 of those were in the city of Mosul, and 40 outside the city amongst which were those in al-Hamadaniya (Qaraqosh), Baa’chiqa, Sinjar, Shikhan, Karmelis, Bahzani, Bartilla, Tel-Kef, Tel-Afar, Rabi’aa, Alqosh, Ba’aj, Makhmour, Fayda, al-Kalak, and other areas inhabited by Iraqi citizens such as the Christians, Yizids, Turkmen, Kurds, Arabs, Shabak, Kakaks, or others, the commission thought of all of them as eligible voters, thus they had the absolute legal right to participate in the elections just like any other eligible Iraqi citizens.

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The investigation results are briefly as follows:

  1. There were 435 ballot boxes which were received from different polling stations in the Nineveh governorate and these have a legal status whereby the votes were counted and officially recognized in the special bulletins for the final results of the Iraqi elections.

  2. There are 40 other boxes subject to complaints and refute or were packaged in a manner violating instructions, so they were sent to the national bureau in Baghdad to investigate them further in order to deal with them according to procedures and in the presence of political representatives, observers, and the media.

  3. The town of Bartilla alone has (15188 voters) but the electoral process didn’t take place even though the electoral materials were provided and that occurred due to security reasons when the elections employees refrained from going to the electoral center. The electoral materials were returned to the Mosul airport by the assigned transportation.

  4. Some electoral materials were forcibly stolen from some electoral centers by some armed groups.

  5. The commission’s employees were subjected in more than one electoral center in the region to physical assaults by some armed groups in irregular or military uniforms, who stole the ballots as well as the ballot boxes then they returned them back offering our civilian employees monetary bribes which they refused.

  6. In one of the electoral centers an armed group stole the ballot cards then they returned them in some irregular bags.

  7. In another electoral center, some armed men forcibly appropriated the ballot boxes then they returned them one attached to the other and tape replaced the covers which were thrown away.

  8. The commission disclosed some of the contested ballot boxes at the Mosul airport before the United Nations experts and a number of local administrators among them was the Nineveh governor, his deputy, political figures, and representatives of political entities participants in the electoral process, they all attested to the soundness of the commission’s procedures.

  9. The commission transported all the ballot boxes as well as the electoral materials to its national headquarters in Baghdad along with the boxes whose legality is doubted or that were packaged in a manner contradictory to instructions.

  10. The commission’s council has carefully examined the aforementioned trespasses and it shall take proper procedures accordingly and separately case by case then the Iraqi public will be informed as soon as possible about the investigation results.

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I don't know what to think about this subject anymore. Hopefully, Mosul will be safer during the next election and these problems won't occur again.

The commission is in the process of recounting 300 ballet boxes. That's actually good. It means the commission takes complaints seriously. It means Iraq's latest election wasn't another Middle Eastern election where the results are known before the elections are even held.

There's no perfect election like there's no perfect world.

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