Election law between rejection and acceptance: first symposium report to discuss election law

2020-07-07

Election law between rejection and acceptance: first symposium report to discuss election law

 

On 7/7/2020, the Tammuz Organization for Social Development held its first electronic seminar on the election law under the title of the election law between decline and acceptance, with the participation of the legal expert, Mr. Adel Al-Lami, former head of the electoral administration in the High Electoral Commission, and Mr. Serbast Mustafa, head of the STEP Organization for Democracy and Elections and the former president For the High Electoral Commission.


 

On 7/7/2020, the Tammuz Organization for Social Development held its first electronic seminar on the election law under the title of the election law between decline and acceptance, with the participation of the legal expert, Mr. Adel Al-Lami, former head of the electoral administration in the High Electoral Commission, and Mr. Serbast Mustafa, head of the STEP Organization for Democracy and Elections and the former president For the High Electoral Commission.

In the introduction to the symposium, the Tammuz organization emphasized the importance of having a fair electoral law that protects the vote of the electorate, achieves justice, and promotes democracy with its principles sought by aspirants for a stable country commensurate with the conditions of society. This symposium is the first of a series of seminars aimed at introducing the law. Incomplete) and the possibility of making amendments to it commensurate with the reality of the country.

Professor Adel Al-Lami made his first intervention and highlighted his observations on the electoral law, saying:

The election law in well-established democratic countries is fixed and does not change except with distant periods of time, so as not to give the room for the political blocs or parties in force to separate a law according to their size as it is installed in their national constitutions and what must be worked on is to make constitutional amendments, and it was formed for this purpose There are three committees, one of which is in Parliament and it is ambiguous about which nothing is known, a committee is in the prime minister and I am a member in it and another in the Presidency of the Republic and I am also a member in it, and two committees were formed to draft the election law proposal, one by the Presidency of the Republic and the other by the Prime Minister and in the committee formed by the President The Republic There were advisers to the president and two activists from the demonstration squares, and we found it difficult for some representatives of political blocs and parties to try to formulate laws in a way that suits them. The law was adopted according to multiple electoral districts at the level of the judiciary and we interfered with some unfair conditions for the candidate and was sent to the Council of Ministers. Unifying and manipulating some paragraphs and changing them.

Among the most prominent paragraphs in this law, the first is the multiple constituencies, the second is the conditions for the candidate, and the other is who is entitled to vote, and if the vote becomes on the basis of the districts, there is no problem because the population of the judiciary will elect whoever represents them regardless of the administrative affiliation of this judiciary, and otherwise it is an artificial problem by some parties. As for determining electoral districts, the Electoral Commission maintains a database of electoral centers that will determine the number of voters at the district, geographical area, or another level.

The second point is the candidate’s conditions, in which the president of the republic, his two deputies, the speaker of parliament, his deputies, and deputies excluded the prime minister and the ministers. These contravene the constitution, which allows for candidacy except for judges and members of the security services, and allows them if they resign from their posts without returning to their jobs even if they do not win. The candidate is also required to bring the signatures of (500) supporters of the candidate, and this number is difficult to find in small constituencies, on the one hand, and there is a disclosure of the identity of the voter and who will know who will vote for whom, through the signatures of the (500) people supporting the candidate, and this is a breach of the secrecy of the election. And there is another issue, which is the special and general voting, which must take place on one day for everyone. For the members of the security services, they can vote if they are near their polling stations or if they are on vacation, and those who are on duty far from the center cannot vote, and this is not a big problem. Especially since there are countries that refuse to vote for the military to preserve the independence of the military and security institutions and make them far from politicization.

The intervention of Mr. Serbast Mustafa:

He stressed that there is no election law, but what is there is a draft law because it was not submitted to the prime minister and was not published in the Official Gazette (Al-Waqi’a Iraqiya Newspaper). Therefore, it will not take its correct course to be implemented. All talk revolves around a draft law and not an enforceable law, and also the appendix for electoral districts that must.

The intervention of Mr. Serbast Mustafa:

 He stressed that there is no election law, but what is there is a draft law because it was not submitted to the prime minister and was not published in the Official Gazette (Al-Waqai’ Newspaper). Therefore, it will not take its correct course to be implemented. All talk revolves around a draft law and not an enforceable law, and also the appendix for electoral districts that must It is sent with the law to the Presidency of the Republic for approval. It does not exist yet, which means the possibility of amending it, returning it to the House of Representatives, or changing it.

 Regarding adopting small electoral districts, there are two drawbacks to this system, which is the massive waste of the voters' votes. The second has to be fair, not in the interest of a particular party alone, and the law did not define multiple districts based on the judiciary or the number of residents in the judiciary, and whether it would be based on multi-member or single constituencies, nor did it specify the voting mechanism and how the division of districts would be as stipulated in the Iraqi constitution that specified A representative for every 100,000 people, or based on the number of voters in the judiciary, or will it be based on the political mood of the influential parties in that region or governorate, so the division criterion, which has not yet become clear to us, will determine whether the law is fair. The other problem is the dependence of the voter registry on the ration card and the 1079 supply centers throughout Iraq, which are not distributed based on the administrative boundaries of sub-districts, districts, or electoral districts, and this will create a problem in the overlapping of centers and borders not only in the disputed areas but even in large governorates such as Baghdad and Basra. And Nineveh. As for the quota for women, with multiple lists, it is not clear how the quota will be defined between the competing entities and to whom the quota for women will go, and this is one shortcoming in the law. There is also a problem in Article (38) of the draft law, which according to the original text referred to manual counting and sorting of one of the stations in the center, and if a difference of 10% appeared, the counting and sorting were manually repeated for the entire electoral center and in the text proposed by the Legal Committee to be completed Re-counting and sorting the entire center in the event of complaints and appeals. Here, I assure you that all centers will re-count and sort manually because the size of the objections will be large by the non-winning blocs. According to this law, the counting and sorting process on an electronic basis will be difficult.

There is also a problem in quota, minorities, and specific injustice in quota, the Yazidis. Despite the existence of a previous decision of the Constitutional Court in 2010, which was that the seats specified in quota were not suitable for the number of Yazidi citizens, but the law did not take this decision. There is another point regarding the conditions for a nomination, the included and the excluded, and it differs from what was proposed in the presidential law, which included many groups according to the demands of the demonstrators, but the draft law excluded some, including members of the Electoral Commission, and this is in violation of the constitution.

Our Our Colleague Vian Sheikh Ali: We need more clarifications about the possibility of holding elections according to small circles considering the statements of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Planning confirming the existence of problems and overlapping in drawing administrative and political boundaries for over 80 districts, especially in the disputed areas. And if there are no problems in defining the districts that will be electoral districts, how will we ensure that justice is achieved by representatives of the people according to electoral programs away from sectarianism, tribalism, and narrow determinants, especially since these are Parliament elections and not provincial councils or municipal elections to provide services to small areas and the tasks of the House of Representatives in terms of legislation and oversight And at national levels.

Mr. Adel Al-Lami:

Electoral districts can be accredited according to the official division of the Ministry of Planning, which is proven to have even disputed. As for Article (15), the proposed one was based on majority, but the government’s version was adopted by multiple departments. Indeed, there is a great waste of votes in small constituencies. The election process must take place through two electoral rounds in order for the majority to be achieved by the highest winning candidates, and justice is achieved by providing equal opportunities for all candidates and voters without distinction and to come out with a parliament that represents all of Iraq demographically and geographically while ensuring all components and this goal From the quota as the political empowerment of minorities and women. As for the quota for women, it will be in one of the two ways, either by the method of single circles and if we take Muthanna as an example, it has seven seats in which there are five departments for men and two for the quota for women. Or by calculating the highest number of votes for five men and the highest number for two women.

Some blocs seek to adopt the individual districts because they believe that they will sweep the seats and achieve greater success, and in fact this democracy. As for the fear of tribal control, it is also the choice of the electorate, and this is democracy.

 As for the counting and counting, we have already conducted three elections in one day, and the counting and counting were manual, and we succeeded in the matter.

Some may says that the faces will repeat themselves, so we have to find an independent election commission, and we know that the entities and parties have representatives in the electoral commission to the extent of directors of the centers, so we must improve the performance of the members of the commission to ensure fair elections. It is imperative that there be wide participation in the elections for all forces and not to boycott them, especially in the current stage. If 18 million people took part and voted for the national cross-sectarian forces, it will be difficult to rig them, and there are many mechanisms to enhance the integrity of the elections, such as the participation of civil society organizations in oversight, which is an important party.

Our colleague   Vian:

What we care about is strengthening democracy and developing civil and political life by providing opportunities for parties to run in elections according to electoral programs and enforceable promises, instead of relying on receiving tribal support and thus weakening political parties, as in nearby countries.

Mr. Serbast Mustafa:

We share with you and Mr. Adel in the wishes of getting rid of the corrupt and failed political class and finding an opportunity for new faces, but in reality, the political system is trying to reproduce itself and organize itself, and competition will be limited to specific political parties that will monopolize power, and this law will not give the opportunity to small parties or representatives of the demonstrators and community organizations. Al-Madani is in victory and he is delusional who believes that this law will benefit him at all because every political party can win several certain circles, even if by one vote. In any electoral failure of any entity, it will inevitably place the blame on the commissioners and performing the commission.

It will take the interventions of the participating colleagues in succession

Mr. Saad Al-Rawi:

I think we need a lot of seminars, and each seminar deals with a special issue. One problem is the absence of political partners and electoral law is absent or no one knows anything about it, and there is a statement by the legal committee that says we do not have clear data about the districts, this after over six months have passed. Also, the law did not specify the party that draws the constituencies, nor did they specify the party that would receive the complaint if any party objected to the delimitation of electoral districts. We need clear and practical studies to benefit from them in Iraq on this issue, and in general the proposed law is a short law and does not meet the ambition.

Mrs. Jabra Al-Taie:

I have several questions, including whether the division based on sects and ethnicities occurred in choosing the Commission’s Council, or was it a coincidence?

As for the division based on multiple districts, will this law represent the demography of Iraq?

Mr. Halshu Abdul Fattah from the Kurdish Institute for Elections in Sulaymaniyah:

Is it possible for the Electoral Commission to conduct elections according to the system of small districts in the absence of a population census and weak information and database for the districts? What do you think of the civil society’s comments on the bill? Is it possible to hold early elections?

Mr. Duraid Tawfiq

It is shameful for a law to be issued from a country that has a civilization that is thousands of years old and contains such spelling errors, breaches, and errors in the wording, and even tricks, for example in Article 5, it says in the general vote that the electronic card can be used and if you go to any sub-election center, you will find thousands of electronic cards that he did not receive Their owners are because of reasons such as death, immigration, or others. I remember the occurrence of problems in this matter, including the sale and purchase of these cards in previous elections. In Article 6, the conditions for nomination stipulate that the candidate must be 28 years old, while in the political parties law, those who establish a political party may be at least 25 years old, and this contradicts how he is allowed to establish a party and put forward an ideology, and he is not allowed to run for elections. Let's go to Article 14, which stipulates that there should be 500 supporters for the candidate Tayeb, who does not have 500 candidates. Why should he take part in the elections in the first place? It also includes a paragraph that requires that the hierarchy of the women's quota be taken into account, meaning that the nomination is based on the list in this case. We go back to Article 15, the second paragraph, and it says the nomination is individual!!! Ok, on which paragraph we adopt in this case, this is a law in which there are conflicting paragraphs with each other and in the same article, the first paragraph states that the constituencies are multiple and not separate, and there is a difference between them. In the multiple, there can be over one candidate for the list. Article 38 stipulates that the counting be by counting acceleration devices and choosing one station for counting and manual sorting, and we know that the IHEC employees do not exceed 6000 employees, as for the 300,000 employees present on the day of polling only for the day of the election and they are close to the election centers, so how will the station be chosen And her selection criteria?

Mr. Adel Al-Lami:

There is no problem in choosing the number of representations for departments in Baghdad, according to what Dr. Jabra, in the current reality it is so and according to what the law and the constitution stipulate. There remains hope for a change in the mood and awareness of the Iraqi voter after the uprising which will help with the victory of new entities and representatives. As for Mr. Halshaw's question, I believe that the commission will succeed in its mission and work if it abides by the laws and strengthens its independence. And there is no problem in merging some districts to achieve the required number of representation. As for early elections, I doubt the ability to implement them. The evidence is that the law has not been issued yet for six months and for Professor Dred the requirement for collecting the signatures of 500 people in the district in which the 100 thousand people have 60 thousand We love they may vote, so how will the candidate bring 500 votes of his supporters with the presence of other candidates and supporters for them. The process will be difficult and it is possible to replace this condition with financial guarantees, provided that it is not expensive and makes up a res Mr. Serbast Mustafa:

I support the words of Mr. Saad Al-Rawi, the clarification about the legal committee, and in 2016 we conducted a workshop with the Parliamentary Regions Committee to conduct district council elections to know the districts' boundaries, registration centers, and ration cards. We reached a definition of (67) districts, and the number of districts was (126) and now their number is (168) A district, either in the region, determining the district is within the jurisdiction of the governorate, and Halabja Governorate has been created, which the central government objects to, and with merging districts that have multiple residents and the merging process, there will be a discrepancy in the application of the individual lists or the multiple lists, and a mixing process will occur in which the law will not be applied. Equal in all districts. Besides the lack of clarity of the law, articles are referring to individual candidacy and articles referring to candidacy based on lists.

Also, the commission cannot hold early elections because of the restructuring of the commission, the dismissal of many general managers and their assistants, the appointment of new cadres, or the creation of job titles that require several approvals from different ministries. It came in the constitutional article 64 that requires the conduct of early elections to dissolve the parliament and there are two ways to solve it, which are difficult The investigation originally and according to my belief that the Commission’s law and the election law were enacted so that the ruling political class would remain on their seats until the end of the election cycle in 2022, and the COVID-19 pandemic helped them in that.

And in return for more interventions:

 Mr. Talib Nowruz:

I have a note on the issue of quota, and the Brotherhood has talked about quota. I want to know what are the criteria for representing minorities? I guess criteria should be set

What are the criteria that should preserve the essence and purpose of the quota? For example, in Wasit, one party came up with a person who was a candidate for the Faili group candidate, and he was not related to them.

Mr. Wafaa Al-Aboudi:

I want to talk about the scenes of preparing the law. We were in the legal committee in the Presidency of the Republic, and there was a linguistic, psychological, and social expert, and issuing the law was good, but the defect was in the House of Representatives. In the Presidency of the Republic, the law took the demands of the October demonstrators and we left the Saint Lego system in its Iraqi version in this As for tribalism and regionalism; it is present in any elections that took place, and we also need to support the commission with its work to complete its structure and thus hold early elections.

Mrs. Awatef Rasheed:

Emphasizing the importance of protecting the election results, especially since the recent elections witnessed burning funds and some centers were subjected to the threat of weapons, and despite complaints and appeals to the Federal Court, the results of the elections were approved, and the members of Parliament became as if they were real representatives while we all know that most of them are not properly winning. What are the mechanisms and provisions in this new law that protect the votes of voters and the rights of candidates?

Mr. Hashem Al-Azzawi:

The question about the legal capacity requirement, how was it adopted in this law? Is the capacity according to the age of 18 years, or is it taken into consideration psychological capacity? For example, for people with a hearing impairment, they are considered in our law as incompetent, and this is unfair for this segment, noting that we previously mentioned the problem in international interventions and reports, as happened months ago in Geneva, and our comments and our request to give the right to persons with disabilities to run and vote were welcomed and solidarity by the attendees.

Mr. Adel Al-Lami:

Regarding the Federal Court’s approval, its approval of the results is formal and not objective. Approximately 350 complaints have already been submitted to it to the Judicial Authority for Elections, and it has returned within two days, and this time is not sufficient even to record it is included in the records, so how was it considered?

As for people with disabilities: Iraqi law and the constitution considers them citizens entitled to take part in elections according to the percentage of disability suffered by them and their mental capacity, and each case is estimated according to its percentage.

Note that the Federal Court and the lack of completion of its members will make an excuse not to hold early elections.triction on the candidacy.

Mr. Serbast Mustafa:

Regarding the minority quota, I think there should be criteria to determine their percentage of representation, and the lesson is not in the number, but the importance of their representation as basic components of the Iraqi people. As for the Faili Kurds, they have fallen into great and double injustice since the previous regime. Also, an additional seat should have been added to Baghdad.

 Regarding complaints and appeals, there is a defect, because the members of the Commission’s Board of Judges and the Judicial Committee for the elections are also judges, so how will the appeal cases be examined while they are from the same side and that the two belong to one institution. I believe that more than (400) appeals have already been submitted and were not considered in One decision, as agreed with Mr. Adel, that the approval of the Federal Court is formal, but there is an experience in which the Federal Court refused to accept the approval of several parliament winners because of criminal restrictions, but the court approved the results, which shows the existence of political effects.

Dr. Tahseen Al-Attar:

How will the commission deal with the presence of many contradictions in the paragraphs of this law, for example, determining the quota for women, how will it be defined? Which stipulates that not less than 25%, so if women win more votes with no quota, will they be counted within the quota or not? Will it remain limited to 25% only? And also the paragraph concerning that the candidate should be from the same governorate, and the period of his stay in that region was not specified to become eligible for the nomination? How will the commission deal with these situations?

Mr. Dawood Salman:

Article 6 states that elections are held in one day, while we know that special voting takes place 48 hours before the general voting. Article 15 contains drafting errors. As for Article 38 and here is the question about determining the electoral station that is counted to match with the results of the electronic count. Who will determine the station? As for the ballot boxes that were said to have been burned, the results are present and that only iron has been burned.

Mr. Salam:

I was previously in the Electoral Commission in recording data and refused to work on it. I would like to point out some observations hoping that they will be addressed: The importance of periodically updating the election registry to avoid problems that occur when housing changes, deaths, or other things that change the data, just as many citizens do not have a voter card for the expiration The contract of the company contracted with to issue the card and they could not take part in the recent elections, and another note about the Roma and their denial of voting because they do not possess national documents even though they are Iraqis. He also suggested that to reduce the attempts of fraud in the elections, secret numbers should be added to the voter card as a password for each voter, as with Master Cards and Visa Cards.

Mr. Adel Al-Lami:

Regarding the vote on the quota for women according to the previous system, I think it is unconstitutional and I think there should be a fund for them. As for what was mentioned by burning the boxes, indeed, the papers were not burned, but the verification devices that relied on for matching with the ballot papers were burned. Consequently, there is no importance for the boxes without the verification devices.

Regarding Kuta, specifically the Faili Kurds, I think that they are Kurdish citizens, and therefore there is no need for a special quota, and what happened in adding a seat in Wasit was pressured by the political parties. The criterion for determining a quota must be the number of residents or voters for the quota to be appropriate.

 

Mr. Serbast:

Regarding the question, how will the commission deal with the law, conduct early elections, and the counting and counting process? The Commission needs time or to amend this law in order not to be blamed for its implementation because those who do his work of breaching and fraud are the political parties, and as for the counting and hand counting in Russia, for example, counting and sorting by 5% after a lottery is conducted by the Commission and the station numbers are sent to the polling stations to be counted and sorted manually a quarter of an hour before the end of the vote to verify the results. As for the women's quota, the law refers to the division of the governorate into several electoral districts while it adopts districts as constituencies, not the governorate. And with adopting multiple electoral lists (and this is likely), the issue needs to be detailed, especially if it is a list of over three seats, and the law also did not refer to the biometric registration that can solve all the problems of the voter register, and about the cancellation of deaths, the updates are continuing, and the commission has already been established since 2014. Until 2017, 444,000 names were removed from the voter registry, in cooperation with the Ministries of Health and Trade.

I suggest that the Fanon be modified in one of the two ways, either to be in two parts, which is 20% for one district and the rest to be divided into several circles, provided that it is based on the block system and not the first-winner system or the province is divided into two parts, partial 50% to be proportional representation according to the original Saint-Lego according to The mass system in place in the election of councils and unions. As for the voter cards, there were over four million cards found in registration centers that were not received by their owners.

Our Colleague Vian Sheikh Ali:

Thanks to everyone for your participation. We must end today's seminar because of the time allowed by us by the Zoom program, which is the first seminar. There will be a series of subsequent seminars. We will take all the angles of the law and what we conclude at the end of the seminar is that:

 The law is incomplete and has a lot of notes, including the wording, the conflict of paragraphs, and the need for a well-plan law so that each paragraph is complimentary and clear to the other. And the call to speed up the completion of the law and its promulgation so that early elections take place, and dividing electoral districts. We have noted that some people find it difficult to hold elections according to small districts due to the existence of delimitation and overlap problems and others, and others believe that their implementation is possible and easy by adopting official data. We believe that we have to wait for the appendix for dividing Chambers from the legislative bodies to know more about the possibility of implementation or not. Regarding the quota and its division of minorities and women, and the participation of people with special needs, the texts are still vague and may unfair to the right of the beneficiaries of the quota, including women, and the endeavor to limit the quota by only 25% with no increase, and this is contrary to the constitution and strikes the essence of the quota as political empowerment and we see that this seminar will be a key to clarifying the law through Topics for upcoming seminars, which will answer all inquiries we did not have time to answer.

Tammuz Organization for Social Development

July 22, 2020

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