On Friday, special polls across the country opened at 7:00 this morning to allow for early voting ahead of the October 10 general elections in Iraq. Early voting, also called “special voting” by Iraqi authorities, allows IDPs, security personnel and convicts to vote prior to the formal election date. The polls will remain open until 18:00.
The Independent High Electoral Commission of Iraq (IHEC) declared that there was a “high turnout” so far in the special voting process. The results of early voting will be announced “24 hours after the general elections take place,” according to IHEC.
International observers affiliated with the United Nations and the European Union were present at polling stations across the country.
The Chief of the EU Election Observation Mission, Viola von Cramon, said they are watching the early voting period closely and that they will “gather all the information and process them two days after the election date, and present and publish a preliminary statement.”
Special Representative for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, was present in a refugee camp in Duhok as part of the mission’s efforts to ensure the credibility of the elections.
“Iraqis should have the confidence to vote as they please, in an environment free of pressure, intimidation, and threats,” a UNAMI statement on today’s early voting period read.