European Union Election Observation Mission to Iraq 2021

Well-managed, competitive elections despite low turnout and problematic legal framework

Baghdad, 12/10/2021 - 11:26, UNIQUE ID: 211012_8
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“The 2021 early parliamentary elections were technically well-managed and competitive, despite challenges as regards level playing field for candidates and problematic aspects of the legal framework”, Chief Observer of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Iraq, Viola von Cramon summarised the preliminary statement of the mission today in a press conference in Baghdad.

 

“The 2021 early parliamentary elections were technically well-managed and
competitive, despite challenges as regards level playing field for candidates and problematic aspects of
the legal framework”, Chief Observer of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to
Iraq, Viola von Cramon summarised the preliminary statement of the mission today in a press conference
in Baghdad.


The Chief Observer highlighted: “Voting on election day was largely peaceful and orderly. Voters were
able to freely express their will, but turnout was low. Some 100 EU observers assessed the process
positively in the vast majority of polling stations observed. However, the legal framework contains some
undue restrictions on electoral rights and many aspects of the electoral process are unregulated. Although
fundamental campaign freedoms were generally respected, there were challenges as regards level
playing field amongst candidates.”


Viola von Cramon also emphasised that “freedom of the media and expression was not completely
safeguarded during the campaign, as some journalists received threats and were sentenced to long jail
terms, and several television channels were temporarily closed down. There were also limitations on full
participation of women, beyond the foreseen quota, persons with disabilities and internally displaced
persons.”


“It is important to note that these findings of the EU EOM cover the electoral process until now and that
the overall process is still underway. As preliminary results have been announced by the Independent High
Electoral Commission (IHEC), it is crucial that all parties use the existing legal means to address any
grievances they may have over the outcome of the polls. Candidates and voters must be safe also after
election day”, said Viola von Cramon, adding: “EU observers will remain in the country to observe the post
electoral developments.”


Domènec Ruiz Devesa, Head of the Delegation of the European Parliament, which observed the polls as
part of the EU EOM, endorsed the preliminary statement of the EU EOM and stated: “Despite the generally
peaceful and well organised election day, the low turnout is a sign that confidence in Iraqi politics is
decreasing, specifically amongst the young population. The Tishreen movement showed a deep frustration
of many Iraqis with the way politics are polarised along sectarian lines and are not delivering on policy
issues. The new parliament will have a great responsibility to actively engage with civil society and to
address the concerns of the citizens.”


The EU Election Observation Mission will publish a comprehensive final report in about two months from
now with recommendations for improving the quality of future elections.

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