Iraqi electoral commission initiates voter registration renewal in Kurdistan Region

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region – The Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) has commenced the voter registration renewal process in the Kurdistan Region, which will run until August 11. This action follows a formal request from the Region’s Presidency to the Iraqi electoral commission, seeking their supervision over the Region’s parliamentary elections.

According to Joumana al-Ghalay, the spokesperson for the commission, “The process of renewing the voter registration in the Kurdistan Region has begun,” and it will continue until August 11. This process involves rectifying voter names, as well as removing and transferring them.

She further stated, “the commission council has approved the transfer of voter registration between the three provinces of Erbil, Sulaimani, and Duhok, as well as within each province itself. However, the transfer of registration outside the Region or vice versa has been rejected.”

On Wednesday, the Kurdistan Region Presidency announced that they had previously requested the Iraqi electoral commission to oversee the Region’s parliamentary elections, scheduled for November 18. This action comes as the Kurdistan Region Parliament was dissolved, as its term expired last year.

The Kurdistan Parliament had extended its term on October 9, 2022, by one year. However, this extension was controversial, with critics arguing its unconstitutionality. On May 30, the Iraqi Federal Court ruled that the extension was indeed unconstitutional, leading to the dissolution of the parliament and the caretaker status of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

Due to a legislative vacuum in the Region, the Kurdistan Region’s electoral commission has not been reactivated. Therefore, according to the constitution, the responsibility for conducting elections in the Region falls on the Iraqi electoral commission.

However, the IHEC is currently preoccupied with organizing the Iraqi provincial council elections, which presents challenges in ensuring the Region’s elections occur on time.

Judge Omar Ahmed, head of the IHEC, informed Zoom News that they will thoroughly review the request from the Kurdistan Region and provide a response accordingly.

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