Pro-Iran Shia Parties Push to Prevent International Supervision of Iraqi Elections
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Pro-Iran Shia Parties Push to Prevent International Supervision of Iraqi Elections

ERBIL — Several Iraq Shia political parties, which are known for their links to Iran, are stepping up the pressure prevent the role of the United Nations and the international community in supervising the upcoming snap elections.

Caught in a prolonged political, financial, security, and administrational crisis, the Iraqi government postponed the snap parliamentary elections from June to October this year. Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein revealed recently that Baghdad has invited the UN to supervise the election on 10th October.

Sunni political leader who previously served as the governor of Mosul, said the Shia political factions oppose the supervision of the UN during the elections so to create an atmosphere in which forgery would be easier for them to secure more seats at the parliament.

“They are well aware of the fact that an international supervision would tie their hands,” Nujaifi said about the pro-Iran political parties.

Earlier in September 2020, the top Shia cleric Ali al-Sistani held a meeting with the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, and said the elections should take place in a transparent way and under the supervision of the United Nations. However, media analysts believe that the remarks were made under the pressure from the growing protests in the southern provinces of Iraq.

The statement seems to have angered Tehran. Iraqi Shia political factions, including Fatih Alliance and State of Law, as well as Hashd al-Shaabi, are now advocating the idea that any international supervision on the elections is a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.

During a press conference held after meeting with Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) late in January, Hennis-Plasschaert said the elections will be “Iraqi-owned and Iraqi-led”.

“On the role of the international community and the United Nations in particular, let me emphasize that so far, we have been providing technical assistance only,” she said, stressing that “it must be clear at all times that the Iraqi elections are Iraqi-owned and Iraqi-led.”

“There is no such thing as the international community taking over,” the UN representative added.