The Iraqi Election Commission continues to fine parties for violations of campaign rules before May’s voting. Those include the lack of good conduct, putting up materials in the wrong places and times, etc. There are much bigger violations going on that the Commission has done nothing about. That is enforcing the ban on foreign funding for campaigns.
Al Mada reported that the Election Commission admitted it couldn’t stop parties and lists from getting money from outside sources. The Commission said it didn’t know how much money parties are getting overall. The United Nations has called for the political groups to disclose their finances, but they have refused to do so. This comes amidst stories that some countries are pumping in support for the election. Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar for example claimed that Iran gave $10 million each to Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law and Ammar Hakim’s Hikma lists.
Iraq’s electoral system is already weighted towards the large ruling parties. Almost all of them are connected to one foreign nation or another. Tehran for instance, has ties to all the Shiite parties along with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. Turkey has backed the Kurdistan Democratic Party, the Turkmen Front, and Vice President Nujafi who is running as part of the al-Karar list this year. Iyad Allawi who is part of Wataniya has gotten help from various Gulf States. Their foreign backing just means that they can dominate the campaigns even more. Since the Election Commission is made up of representatives from the governing lists they have no incentive to crackdown on the parties and enforce the law.
Iraq News Network, “Maliki’s coalition Yes, we received $10 million from Iran to support our campaign,” 4/15/18
- “Newspaper: Iran paid Maliki and Hakim $10 million each for electoral support,” 4/14/18
Al Mada, “Ali al-Rafi: The Electoral Commission did not charge the parties that financed their campaigns from public funds,” 4/24/18
- “The Electoral Commission is unable to identify sources of funding for parties and blocs for their campaigns,” 4/17/18
Rudaw, “Election commission fines over 100 candidates in first week of campaign,” 4/21/18