Kirkuk electoral commission: stolen devices deactivated

Kirkuk, 2018- The biometric device used in polling stations in 2018 elections to register data of the voter holding a plastic card with a chip and their finger prints following voting. Karwan Salihi

By Karwan Salihi in Kirkuk

Kirkuk office of the Independent High Electoral Commission IHEC says the stolen devices that a Turkmen party is complaining about were stolen in 2018 and were deactivated when it was found.

The head of Iraqi Turkmen Front ITF Hasan Turan told the Iraqi PM Mustafa al-Kadhimi in a meeting with political leaders in Baghdad on August 7th several biometric devices have disappeared, a statement by ITF said.

Turan called on relevant authorities and the IHEC for transparent and clean elections for the Iraqi parliament due on October 10th.

“There should be guarantees that election electronic system is not breached. There is time also for the parliament to amend election law and shit to manual counting,” he added in a statement posted on his personal Facebook account on August 8th.

Turan insisted there should be guarantees that no extra names would be added to the list of Kirkuk eligible voters via lost devices.

 الانتخابي مدرسة الكندي الابتدائية المختلطة 2018

Kirkuk, 2018- The biometric device in a polling of Kirkuk. Karwan Salihi

The IHEC is using electric devices which recognizes the plastic ID cards of the voters and registers their finger prints following voting in the ballot stations.

Kirkuk office of IHEC said the case is old, dates back to 2018. Only two devices have disappeared.

“Only two biometric devices and phone sets disappeared when a car bomb exploded in front of IHEC Kirkuk warehouse in Wasiti neighborhood,” said Lu’ai Arkan, director of IHEC Kirkuk office.

“We have informed Baghdad about it and tow committee were formed one be IHEC and the second by the integrity commission. The case is officially closed by the commission,” he added.

The director of Kirkuk office said the devices are to be updated and “those two stolen devices were deactivated.”

Mid-June, IHEC gave numbers to the nominees for the upcoming October parliamentary elections in the northern province of Kirkuk where one million people voters will choose only 12 out of 130 candidates for Kirkuk seats in Baghdad’s house of representatives.

Out of 13 parliamentary seats, the patriotic Union of Kurdistan, PUK, a leading Kurdish party won 6 seats in Kirkuk province 2018 elections, three seats for each Arab and Turkmen communities and one quota seat for the Christians.

On June 2nd, the IHEC made a series of changes in Kirkuk, where it has decided to replace director of its office in Kirkuk and several managers.

Director of IHEC in Kirkuk was replaced, beside managers for the departments of media, registry of voters, training, services, parties and candidate affairs, finance, law and administration.

The Iraqi Turkmen Front ITF and the Arab Council rejected the last changes in the senior positions of IHEC Kirkuk office and called for immediate revocation. They accused the Kurds of taking over the senior seats since 2003.

Kirkuk, located 238 kilometers north of Baghdad, is an ethnically mixed province for 1.2 million Kurds, Sunni and Shiite Arabs, and Turkmen. It has long been at the center of disputed territories between Baghdad and Erbil. 

Kurds were holding the position of IHEC director in the last rounds. Arabs and Turkmens always accuse the Kurds of fraud in elections as the Kurds were holding grip over power in the oil-rich city up to 2017 when Iraqi troops ousted the Kurdish forces following declaration of victory over the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria ISIS.


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