The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) is a professional, governmental, independent and neutral body supervised by the Council of Representatives. It is exclusively responsible for organizing, implementing and supervising all kinds of elections and referenda.
According to Article No. 102, the IHEC is a constitutional institution. It was established in terms of law No. 11 of 2007 to replace the older Commission (the independent electoral commission of Iraq/the transitional electoral commission) which conducted the 2005 elections and constitution referendum.
The IHEC Tasks
The IHEC is the only governmental body authorized to establish the followed regulations and bases for elections and referenda both regional and federal Iraq-wide. It has exclusive power to announce, organize and supervise all elections and referenda including voter registration, public elections and governorate councils’ elections. The IHEC consists of the BoC and the EA. It includes 19 GEOs covering all governorates with two offices in Baghdad besides the KREO.
The IHEC BoC
The Board of Commissioners represents the legislative body of the commission. It consists of nine commissioners including the CEO selected by the CoR on the bases of nationality, efficiency, education, electoral experience, specialization, integrity and independence. Woman representation was ensured as well.
The IHEC law stipulated that the BoC should have at least two legal members. In its first session, the BoC, with a five out of eight member’s majority vote, elects its chairman, deputy chairman, reporter and the non-voting CEO.
The BoC is responsible for approving the general policy of electoral processes, manage it and monitor the conduct of the EA. Therefore, it performs the following tasks:
· Supervise the establishment and update of voter register in cooperation with governorates and regional electoral offices.
· Organize the PEs registration and certification process running for elections.
· Organize and approve elections candidate lists.
· Accredit observers, PE agents and media representatives.
· Adjudicate all electoral complaints and objections.
· Approving procedures.
· General elections/referenda final results announcement and approval except for the CoR election results as they solely approved by the Federal Court.
· Enact rules and regulations to ensure fair elections.
· Approve the EA structure and high-position recruitments.
· Develop the financial policy of the commission.
Electoral Administration (EA)The EA is the administrative and executive part of the IHEC. It is headed by the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO). It is responsible for developing plans and procedures of electoral events and submits them to the Board of Commissioners (BoC) for approval. EA consists of the IHEC HQ and 19 GEOs in addition to the Kurdistan Regional Office. Voter Registration Centers (VRCs) are linked to the GEOs in the governorates. VRCs register voters to produce and regularly update a transparent and complete voter register which is necessary for referenda and elections. GEOs have sub-centers in the governorates, which in turn, are sub-divided into polling centers. Each polling center contains from 1 to 6 polling stations.
The IHEC Laws