Jeanine-Hennis Plasschaert, the Special Representative for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), came out against the decision to boycott the upcoming general elections in Iraq in her testimony to the United Nations Security Council.
“A boycott is not an effective strategy, nor will it solve anything. On the contrary, a vote not cast is in fact a gift to those you may be opposed to. Hence, it is important for voters and politicians alike to return to the electoral process.” the Special Representative said.
At least four prominent political forces have withdrawn their list of candidates and called for a boycott of the October 10 elections.
The religious cleric and the leader of the Sadr Movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, and former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi are among those who withdrew from the elections.
A number of representative offices of the October 2019 protests have also called for a boycott of the elections, drawing attention to the failure of the political elite to provide accountability for the killing of hundreds of protesters during the protests. Protesters from Karbala and Basra have confirmed their decision to boycott.
The Iraqi High Electoral Commission announced earlier today that it was in coordination with the UN to authorize at least 120 international observers to monitor the elections.
“We continue to provide technical assistance wherever we can. Five times as many UN personnel are currently engaged as were in the 2018 elections… In parallel, preparations for UN monitoring are moving rapidly,” UNAMI announced it on its Twitter account.
With only 44,5 percent of registered voters casting their ballots, the 2018 general elections in Iraq witnessed the lowest electoral turnout since 2005. Many expect a similar turnout in this election cycle.