Early voting commences for Iraqi provincial council elections

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region — The early voting for the upcoming Iraqi provincial council elections began at 7 am on Saturday two days ahead of the general vote and will run until 6 pm.

Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudan expressed appreciation for the armed forces’ efforts in securing the electoral process. He emphasized their right to choose candidates freely, without external interference in their voting rights.

Interior Minister Abdul Amir Shamari reported tightened security measures, with no illegal violations recorded.

The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) identified over a million special voters eligible for the special vote, this includes the armed forces and the internally displaced persons (IDP)s. A total of 565 polling centers and 2,367 polling stations have been set up to accommodate them.

Imad Jamil, head of the commission’s media office, highlighted the extensive monitoring efforts. Over 495 individuals, representing various entities, will observe the process, including 1,857 international observers.

A considerable media presence is expected, with 300 international and 2,254 local journalists covering the electoral process.

The Electoral Commission deployed 220,000 employees across Iraq to manage the process according to each province’s needs.

Under Iraqi electoral law, provincial council elections occur every four years. However, certain provinces have not seen elections in a decade, and Kirkuk has been without elections for 18 years. Kurdish participation involves four lists, sparking intense competition, notably in Kirkuk, where elections haven’t occurred since 2005.

General elections for 275 provincial council members are scheduled for November 18 in all Iraqi provinces, excluding the Kurdistan Region. The ongoing special voting process sets the stage for these critical elections that are expected to shape Iraq’s provincial governance.

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