OCV official calls on Iraqis residing in Qom to vote on Saturday and Sunday

Head of Qom Out-Country-Voting (OCV) sub-office Ans Zwerver here Wednesday said that to avoid overcrowding, eligible Iraqi voters residing in Qom who have registered for OCV had better cast their votes on Saturday and Sunday to let the residents of nearby cities of Kashan and Saveh to vote.

Speaking at a press conference held at the United Nations Information Center, she expressed satisfaction with the number of Iraqis who turned up at the two registration centers in the city of Qom to register for the upcoming National Assembly Election. "Upon arrival at the registration centers in Qom which consist of one for female voters and another for male, eligible Iraqi voters turned to the proper station to register," she added.

For his part, Senior Iraqi Advisor Haytham Alsheykh said that the figures released on the Iraqi OCV is promising. He added that despite the problems facing the Iraqis residing across the nation, the number of registered voters in the Islamic Republic of Iran is the highest among the 14 countries where the OCV program is underway.

Alsheykh noted, "We are finding a very high motives for participating in the upcoming election among Iraqis residing across Iran, irrespective of the fact that they had to go through many difficulties such as the far distance and the cold weather to come to register."

Head of Iraq OCV Country Office Kate Pryce, for her part, said that the number of nationwide polling stations were increased from 70 to 76 because of the extensive turnout of Iraqi voters. Alsheykh attributed the high number of registration in the Islamic Republic of Iran to the level of the knowledge of the Iraqis residing the country. "Even in the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI) and IOM on November 11, 2004, such a high turnout of Iraqi pollsters were not predicted," he added.

IOM is authorized by the inked MoU to conduct an OCV program on behalf of and under the supervision of IECI. This program enables many Iraqis living abroad to participate in the upcoming election slated for January 30. The Iraq OCV program will be carried out in 14 countries as identified by the IECI including Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Iran, Jordan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Syria, Turkey, UAE, the United Kingdom and the US.

Voters in the 14 countries must return to the same station they registered in to cast their votes. Polling takes place from January 28 to 30 with the last day coinciding with election day in Iraq. Iraq`s Shi`ites, oppressed under Saddam, strongly support the elections. A list of candidates dominated by Shi`ite Islamists and drawn up with the guidance of Iraq`s most revered cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, is expected to win the most votes, cementing the
new-found political power of Shi`ites.

Iraqis will be voting to choose a Transitional National Assembly. Members of the 275 seat assembly will be elected by proportional representation with a one-year mandate. Their responsibilities will include choosing a Presidency Council
and drafting Iraq`s Constitution. The Presidency Council consists of the president of the state and two deputies. The council will nominate the prime minister and the Council of Ministers upon the recommendation of the prime minister.

The Constitution must then be ratified through a national referendum, scheduled to take place at the end of 2005. Governorate and regional elections are also scheduled to take place at the same time in Iraq, including the Kurdistan Assembly elections. In accordance with established external voting procedures
Iraqis abroad will not be able to participate in these local government elections.

Tehran, Jan 26, IRNA

This article was published on Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA)

Dagboek Archief

Aangedreven door Movable Type 4.38