A group of civil society organizations issued a statement on the recent amendment to the Provincial Elections Law, adopted by the Iraqi Council of Representatives during its 34th session on 22 July 2019. The statement reads as follows:
We are a group of independent civil society organizations, activists and defenders of human rights and we strongly condemn the first amendment to the Law of Provincial Elections now active in Iraqi governorates and their districts.
We express here our deep concern about the proposed equation to be used in counting votes which was raised in section 1.9 of the law.
We consider this amendment unjust and undemocratic as it makes it impossible to acquire an accurate representation of voters. The new amendment makes competition unfair between those who seek to participate in elections, and limits the ability of smaller political groups and independent candidates to access provincial councils.
The current formula used to count votes entrenches the power and control of the established blocs and parties already influential in the governorates.
We, signatories to this statement, worry about the fate of democracy in Iraq, and we call on the Iraqi Council of Representatives to reject these amendments and return to the law as it was earlier, specifically version 1.3.
We also call on the President of the Republic to send the law back to the Council of Representatives for reconsideration based on the many observations made by civil society and others who support a vibrant and robust democracy in Iraq.
We affirm that we will pursue all means of nonviolent protest — in particular, a call for a boycott of future elections — in order to express our firm rejection of this amendment. This is our moral responsibility to the people of this country who should not be forced to hand over power to a limited number of parties who have dominated the political system for too long, and whose interests are not with the people.
We call on all interested organizations and individuals to sign this statement and to express publicly their position about this new amendment.
Madarik Organization for Studying the Mechanisms of Conceptual Promotion
Civic Center for Studies and Legal Reform
Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq
Sports Against Violence
Information Center for Research and Development
Nissan institute for Democratic Awareness
Tabanni Foundation for Active Youth
Humat Dijlah Association
Iraqi Social Forum
Shakoufyan Organization for Development and Culture
Hit Social Forum
Dhi Qar Social Forum
Nucleus Center for Development and Human Rights
Misan Social Forum
Najaf Social Forum
Opinion Team for Advocacy and Promotion of Democracy
Diwaniyah Environment and Peace Forum.
Faluja Social Forum