The EU announced on Monday that an Election Observation Mission (EOM) has been dispatched to Iraq to watch the legislative elections slated for October 10.
On August 28, the European Union EOM’s core team of 12 election specialists arrived in Baghdad and Irbil. The European External Action Service, the EU’s diplomatic arm, said in a press release Monday that 20 long-term observers will join the mission in mid-September and will be stationed in various parts of the nation.
The operation will be bolstered on election day with local short-term observers from EU member states’ diplomatic posts in Iraq. The European Union EOM will remain in the country until the electoral process is completed, according to the statement.
Josep Borrell, EU High Representative has named Ms. Viola Von Cramon-Taubadel, a German member of the European Parliament, as the EU Electoral Observation Mission’s lead observer.
“I am glad that responding to Iraq’s request, the European Union will deploy its first-ever Election Observation Mission to the country. I just visited Iraq and discussed the importance of these polls,” he said in a statement.
“Our observation mission is a clear manifestation of solidarity and support to the Iraqi people and of our solid partnership with Iraq,” he added.
On her part, Viola Von Cramon-Taubadel said: “I am proud to have been appointed chief observer of the EU EOM for the Iraqi elections in October. These polls will be an important milestone in Iraq’s democratic build-up.”
The United Nations has also announced that observers will be deployed to Iraq’s parliamentary election next month, in the hopes that voting will be free of fraud and abstention.
Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the UN’s highest representative in Iraq, said at a separate press conference that the international organisation would also deploy a major monitoring team.
“In fact, this is one of the UN’s largest electoral assistance projects worldwide with five times as many UN personnel as in 2018,” she said.
Hennis-Plasschaert asked Iraqis not to boycott the election, which she believed would be “credible,” and urged “political parties and candidates to desist from any attempt to manipulate or distort election resources.”
Violence and vote-buying have tainted previous Iraqi elections. In the most recent parliamentary election, 44.52 percent of eligible voters cast ballots, an official figure that many believe is overstated.
As the election approaches, calls for a boycott have become louder, particularly among young people who accuse Iraqi political parties of covering up and even promoting political violence.
Everyone in the country wants elections, according to Borrell, “but when we organize elections, the people say that elections are not good.” He stated, “Our focus is try to help the electoral process be as good as possible.”
Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhemi promised an early general election as part of his efforts to address the demands of the demonstrators.
Last year, a new electoral law went into effect, with the goal of breaking the monopoly held by power-sharing blocs and promoting independent candidates instead.