Monday, April 15, 2013

Early Vote For Iraq’s 2013 Provincial Elections Sparks Controversy


April 13, 2013, was the start of voting for Iraq’s provincial balloting. Members of the security forces went to the polling stations first, so that they could protect voters during the general election. The early voting however was marked by controversy as various media outlets and political parties accused Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of pushing commanders in the army and police to get their forces to vote for the premier’s State of Law list. On April 7, for instance, Shafaq News ran an article where a lieutenant in the 17th Army Brigade claimed his deputy commander gave the unit orders to vote for Maliki’s State of Law. On voting day, the Sadrists and Speaker of Parliament Osama Nujafi’s National Assembly of Iraqis told the press that security forces in Karbala and Ninewa were told to cast ballots for Maliki as well. It will be up to the Election Commission to investigate these charges, but it’s unlikely they will be able to find anything. The accusations also represent the political divisions within the country, as Speaker Nujafi has become one of the premier’s main critics, while the Sadrists are trying to differentiate themselves from him to try to win a greater share of the Shiite electorate.

Security forces lined up to vote in Anbar, where the Prime Minister has postponed regular balloting indefinitely (Alsumaria)

Policemen outside a polling station (Al-Mada)


A soldier holds up his purple finger after he voted in Basra (AFP)

Soldiers waiting to vote in Kirkuk (AFP)

Policeman reads the ballot in a voting station in Baghdad (Reuters)

Members of the security forces queued up by unit in Karbala (Reuters)

Iraqi policeman casts his ballot in Baghdad (AFP)

Members of the Election Commission checking identifications before handing out ballots in Karbala (Getty Images)

A purple finger, sign of having voted in the elections (European Press Agency)

SOURCES

AIN, “Zamili: some special protection units, officials pressurize security elements,” 4/13/13

National Iraqi News Agency, “Mottahidoon /United/ Slate accuses officers for mobilizing military elements to vote for the benefit of a specific slate in Mosul,” 4/13/13

Shafaq News, “Soldiers Forced to Vote for PM,” 4/7/13

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