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article imageEntire Iraq electoral board resigns as violence continues

By Ken Hanly     Mar 26, 2014 in Politics
Baghdad - The Independent High Electoral Commission(IHEC) that supervises Iraq's elections scheduled for next month has resigned en masse. The IHEC members claim that they are subject to immense pressure from both parliament and the Iraqi courts.
They claim that they are subject to political interference. The group claims they are caught between conflicting rulings of the parliament and the judiciary over the exclusion of certain candidates. In a statement the group said: "The commission is subject to intense pressures resulting from the conflict between the legislative and judiciary powers,In order to get out of this vicious circle, the members of the electoral commission have taken the decision to present their resignation collectively."
The existing electoral law allows for candidates of "ill repute" to be barred from running for office. The De-Baathification laws which prohibit candidates associated with Hussein's old political party are also used to disqualify candidates. Critics claim that the Maliki government is using these laws to ban any potential rivals particularly Sunnis. The Sunnis already feel marginalized in the Shia majority government and radical Sunni groups including some associated with Al Qaeda are rebelling against the government.
The resignations will make it difficult to go ahead with elections scheduled for April 30. The IHEC members also said they resigned to retain the IHEC's "independence and professionalism". The resignations need to be approved by the head of the IHEC.
Eight months after elections in 2010 in which the Sunni-dominated Iraqiya Party won a few more seats than Maliki's coalition, under pressure from Iran and the U.S., Nouri al Maliki formed a power sharing government. However, Maliki has increasingly reneged on sharing any power particularly with Sunnis. He himself has the positions of Prime Minister, Interior Minister, Military Chief of Staff.
Meanwhile the security situation continues to deteriorate in Iraq with today's total being 68 dead and 81 wounded across Iraq. The day before was not much better at 46 killed and 32 wounded. Fallujah is still held by Islamic militants but is under siege.
More about IHEC, Iraq elections, Nouri almaliki
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