News: Elections preparations for Ninevah Province
Story by Spc. Leigh Campbell
by Spc. L.C. Campbell
138th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
MOSUL, Iraq (October 3, 2006) – The Governance section of the Provincial Reconstruction Team met with the elections committee of Ninevah Province Oct. 3, to discuss the organization of elections to be held later this year in Mosul, Iraq.
The Province of Ninevah will be electing new representatives after the election laws are passed in Baghdad, Iraq.
"Today we met with the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq," said 1st Lt. Wade Williams, assistant provincial council liaison officer and election liaison officer, Governance Provincial Reconstruction Team. "This Independent Commission over sees all the elections that go on in the nation."
Mohammad Al Fraydi, Deputy of the Ninevah Province elections committee, and Williams talked about the elections law that is being discussed in Baghdad, which will authorize provincial elections. They went ahead and planned out the process and logistical needs, so when the law is passed they are prepared for elections.
The past elections were conducted under the law that was created by Iraq's transitional government. Iraqis in Baghdad are currently writing their own election laws under their constitution.
"We are trying to mentor and coach them into a pre-planning mindset," said Williams. "They can be ready and more efficient at everything when the time comes to execute the task."
After the Law is passed they have 60 days to appoint new commissioners of the IECI. During those 60 days they will go through training given by the United Nations that will guide them in determining what elections will be held and when.
According to Williams, the PRT will not be getting involved with the planning the new commissioners are doing.
"It is their country and we are letting them take charge," said Williams. "We are just showing them some pre-positioning ideas and techniques so they can get ahead."
The IECI is using schools as the polling sites for the elections, and they are using the employees of the school to monitor and over see the progress during the election.
"What has really pleased me is that most of their planning is coming from the past experiences they have had during their elections," said Williams. "They detailed things they did right and things they did wrong. Now they are working through them and trying to do well with what they have."
According to Williams, a topic that is of concern is making sure the people of are Iraq are properly represented. The elections allow the people to actively choose their leaders. Some officials that are in office now have been appointed by U.S. Forces.
What elections will do as well is give equal representation of the people. Thirty-three of the 41 seats are held by Kurds. Part of the reason for that is the Kurdish really understood the power that came with the position.
"We are trying to lessen our footprint here," said Williams. "If we can get the IECI, parties, and committees from the Provincial council to work together we can slowly start to step away. They can make their own decisions and run their own country responsibly in a democratic fashion."