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Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq accused of “receiving cash”
from Massoud Barzani

* KurdishMedia.com
* 08/10/2009 00:00:00

London (KurdishMedia.com) 08 October 2009: Faraj Haidari, the head of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI) has been accused by of “receiving cash” from Massoud Barzani, reported local media on Tuesday.

Haidari is now being questioned by the Iraqi parliament to respond to misuse accusations during the last Kurdistan elections for the parliament and for the president of Kurdistan.

Jamal Batikh, a member of the Iraqi parliament on the al-Iraqiye parliamentary bloc, told the daily Arabic Sharq alawsat on Tuesday that one of the evidence that was revealed in the parliament is that the head of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq received cash from Massoud Barzani, the president of Kurdistan and the head of KDP, by a member of the Iraqi parliament. This is while, Batikh added, the IECI has its own budget. There are other evidence, Batikh is aware, that in some districts of Kurdistan during the last elections the results of the elections were tampered with.

The IECI is Iraq's electoral commission which should be an independent power in Iraq, but during the last Kurdistan elections for the parliament and for the president strong evidence suggests that the IECI did not act independently and worked in favour of Massoud Barzani and the PUK and KDP coalitions list. The head of IECI was called to the Iraqi parliament to be questioned.

Faraj Haidari, the head of IECI was formally a high ranking official in Massoud Barzani’s party KDP and his appointment to be the head of IECI was controversial. Observers believed his appointment was influenced by both PUK and KDP.

The wide range frauds during the last elections reflected negatively on public’s perspective of democracy in general. For example, in Duhok, where the KDP has a strong control, astonishing 80 percent of the votes, a very high figure by any international standard went to Kurdistani List, PUK/KDP coalition. The equivalent figures for Kurdistani List, in governorate of Sulemani was about 35 percent and in Arbil, where irregularities observed, was about 64 percent.

The election fraud in Duhok can be supported further by the comparing the percentage of votes Yekgirtui Islami coalition, Reform and Services List, received in Duhok. While Duhok governorate is Yekgirtu’s stronghold, they only received 10 percent of the votes, while in Sulemani governorate, where they are not so strong, they received about 16 percent.

Many Kurdistanis believe that the governorate of Duhok is compensating for any democracy that other governorates pursue; this is not reported in the media outlets, albeit widely debated in private circles.

Many ordinary Kurdistanis conclude that there is no point of voting because whatever the public do, the PUK and KDP forge the results to their own favour. The appointment of Faraj Haidari was a negative step for free and fair elections in Kurdistan, because of Haidari’s own interest in the KDP. A former high ranking KDP official, who was the head of KDP branch in Baghdad since 2003, cannot be independent in any elections.