Saturday, August 23, 2008

Suggested scapegoats for poor voter-registration

AlHayat reported on Saturday morning August 23 that "The Association of Muslim Scholars of Iraq and the Baath party call for boycott of the provincial elections". AMSI, however, says on its official website that it has issued no such statement, in fact no statement at all of the subject, and in a note it calls on AlHayat to please make a practice of verifying its information before publishing it, adding this has happened before.

The paper said the (purported) AMSI statement included this: "The local elections are part of a strategy being carried out by the United States for the complete partitioning of Iraq, and their clauses were written into the Constitution in order to effectuate the partitioning of Iraq by virtue of them. And the Law on Provincial Councils is nothing but a confirmation of that strategy", and the journalist went on: [AMSI] indicated that the American administration has deluded a many Iraqis into thinking that partial control, power and separation of all provinces is correct and necessary in these circumstances.

And the journalist goes on:
The Association has said on many occasions that "The Law on Provincial Councils, which was the subject of controversy originally between groups and parties participating in the political process, is the magic key for the partitioning of Iraq into 18 statelets, having many dimensions positions and features of partition that are obvious."
The general position of AMSI is that the fact of the occupation vitiates the "political process". I don't know if they have ever said anything of this kind about a partition into 18 statelets. But given the fact that this large-circulation newspaper is citing here an apparently non-existent current AMSI statement, it is worth considering possible motives for that, and the solution is not far to seek.

Because the other major point in this news article is that there has been dramatically poor response to the call for voter-registration. A source is quoted to the effect that in spite of three extensions of the registration deadline, there have been only around one million registrants nation-wide, compared to 8 million voters in the last election (out of 14 million eligible voters). These are not official figures of the Independent Elections Commission of Iraq itself, and the paper cites them merely to give an indication of the orders of magnitude. The paper does, however, quote someone at the Commission who said the poor response is not limited to certain areas of Iraq, but is the same throughout the country, reflecting a general aversion on the part of the citizenry to registering for this. No doubt they are starting to look for scapegoats.

(As for the statement attributed to the Baath party, I haven't been able to find any evidence of that either, but that doesn't necessarily mean there wasn't one).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

there have been only around one million registrants nation-wide, compared to 8 million voters in the last election

why do people have to register for each election? do the 8 million from th last election have to re register?


6:14 PM  
Blogger badger said...

I don't know for sure, but that's certainly the way it sounds... Any readers know?

6:34 PM  
Blogger badger said...

In any event, in the 2005 provincial elections, I believe the Commission decided to accept ration-cards as valid ID for voting, which probably meant there wasn't an elaborate ID-verification or registration system needed. Now however, on the register-to-vote page of the Independent Higher Election Commission ( they refer to having set up 549 voter-registration centers nation-wide, and there are fairly elaborate instructions about what kind of documents you should bring with you when you go there, either to update your registration, or to register for the first time. So it certainly looks as if they require an "updating" even for those that voted in the prior election. IN which case, it is possible that the whole idea of an identity-verfication process (compared to simply presenting your ration card in the 2005 elections) is proving to be a psychological stumbling block in itself. But I don't know.

7:42 PM  

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