Iraq: IHEC Conducts a Ballot Lottery for Enlisting Political Entities

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By Randa Jamal

The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) with the Assistance of the UNAMI Electoral Team, conducted a full Ballot Lottery, on 24 December 2009, at Al-Rasheed Hotel, to determine the order and the numbers for the various political entities/coalition lists, running for the upcoming parliamentary election scheduled for 7 March 2009, and how they would appear on the ballot.

Under the slogan: "The IHEC Conducts a Ballot Lottery for all Competing Political Entities", the Ballot Lottery was carried out in a transparent fashion.

Deputy Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament Khaled Attiya lauded the Ballot Lottery, "It was a transparent process showcasing democratic mechanisms while treating all political entities equally and fairly". He added, "These are solid preparations that will lead to 7 March 2010 parliamentary election".

The majority of commissioners were also present in the event. At the start of the event, they explained the overall procedures for conducting the lottery, while reminded all political entities that dates for the campaigning period will be announced by IHEC in due time. For the Vice Chairman Amal Al-Bayraktar, she expressed satisfaction with having all the political entities present, 86 in total. She said, "the next steps are that the nominated candidates will go through the required vetting process through the Integrity and Justice Committee and Bureau of Supreme Audit". For the background check, the names of candidates will be listed without reference to their political entities, a fact that the Deputy Commissioner takes pride in. "This will allow for transparency and no fraud, which is our goal".

As for UNAMI Electoral team member Anan Sorri, who worked closely with the IHEC team to pan out the Ballot Lottery event, he said that the lottery is important for the IHEC particularly that it follows best international practices in determining where each political entity falls on the voting ballot. "This is a great step that reflects the transparency and credibility that will lead up to the parliamentary election".

With 86 political entities/coalitions present to draw a number that would enlist them in the Voting Ballot, the event was covered by 20 television channels with a live Broadcast by Al-Iraqiya.