Will the Iraqi elections be held on May 12, 2018? This is a question that is often repeated these days, with political officials divided over the issue.
So as usual, Iraqis are split between supporters who want to hold the election on the date the government decided and opponents who also want to hold the election on that date, but have now called for a postponement until at least the end of 2018.
The date has been not voted yet by parliament which enabled the Commissioner of the elections to warn parliament of the consequences of non-compliance with the deadline, especially if they have not voted for the election laws and the legislation of the 2018 budget, there still being a problem over this, the struggle between southern and western provinces continuing, in addition to the dispute over the Kurdistan government.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi insists on holding the elections on the same date and, after he heard the calls for a postponement, attempted to obtain a constitutional advisory opinion from the Federal Court to prevent the postponement and approve the procedure for the date he decided.
Let’s talk about the circumstances that the country is currently living through however, and why there are many voices calling for the election’s postponement.
There are very bad conditions still in many areas in Iraq that are not taken into Abadi’s account.
There are nearly 3 million displaced still in the camps. There are those displaced who have lost identity cards, due to many reasons, especially after ISIS took control of their cities.
There are also children who do not have official papers and have not yet been registered officially, this just a reminder of the situation, even though they do not have to vote.
Let us not forget also that there are around a hundred thousand people from the ISIS families who are living in separate camps. So far the government has not talked about them and there is no official statement regarding their status. Will they participate in the election? Are they entitled to vote? 100 thousand votes is not a few!
In addition to what Iraqi Member of Parliament Farah Al Sarraj said, there are names of ISIS recorded as voters in Mosul, whose names we are told will be removed from the official files.
The second reason for the postponement is that there are several areas still suffering from the destruction of fighting between Iraqi forces and ISIS fighters. While Abadi repeatedly confirms his commitment to provide safe areas for the elections, return the displaced to their areas, and that the voting will be electronically, we still do not how he will achieve this within four months.
I do not know how the Prime Minster talks so confidently. He appears to have a magic wand and when he waves it, can build houses and prepare basic services and return the displaced to the disaster zones like the old city in Mosul.
It is only four months that separates us from the elections. The Iraqi citizens are waiting to hear what the Baghdad government decides, though most of them do not care about the election, they know nothing will change, the same political faces will be back again with the corruption and sectarianism.
Let us be fair and talk about the other side who support the election being held in May, Of course they have their reasons for this such as a constitutional and political vacuum or that the interim government may lead the country to a political and security conflict.
If we want to talk about the Kurd vision regarding the election, they prefer to postpone it as they have a lot of interior problems and need time to solve their troubles.
We will see in the following days what the government decides to do for Iraq.
Rafah Al Saad is a a Senior Writer/Reporter at theAl ArabiyaNews Channel, MBC Group.