Iraq UN reports preparations largely complete for constitutional referendum

With UN technical and planning support, the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI) has delivered almost 2 million kilos of materials such as ballots, polling boxes and voter screens to governorate electoral hubs across the country for more than 15 million eligible Iraqis. “The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq has put into place an effective operation to carry out the 15 October referendum,” the Director of the UN Electoral Assistance Division (EAD), Carina Perelli, said. “Important work has been carried out by this national institution to ensure that Iraqis are both responsible for organizing the referendum as well as voting in it.”The UN, which has a mandate to provide strategic advice and technical assistance to the IECI under Security Council Resolution 1546, has been supporting the IECI since its establishment in May 2004. Under the coordination of the UN Electoral Assistance Team, some 45 foreign specialists have been providing advice and technical support to IECI headquarters and its 1,000 staff members for the organization of the referendum. Specialized assistance has been provided for Information Technology management, the drafting of electoral regulations, polling procedures training, and activities such as the funding and training of domestic observers’ networks.The IECI has hired more than 100,000 polling staff across the country and has carried out a public outreach campaign featuring television commercials, leaflets and education materials. Training of polling staff has also been undertaken. “As in any electoral process there are bound to be some technical problems in some areas of the country, each of which will be addressed individually by the competent Iraqi electoral authorities,” Ms. Perelli said. “The same case-by-case approach will be used for any security problems that arise on polling day.”

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