Press Conference | OPENING REMARKS BY INGIBJÖRG SÓLRÚN GÍSLADÓTTIR
05 October 2021
Baghdad, 5 October 2021
I am pleased to inform you that the technical aspects of the electoral process are fully on track and our large UN electoral presence is fully deployed, covering technical assistance and monitoring as well as communications and outreach. All told, nearly 900 individuals – international and national, experts as well as support staff – are contributing to nationwide electoral efforts.
Our electoral technical advice and assistance includes such in need areas as election operations, communications and outreach, the managing of election results, information technology, logistics, training for polling staff, gender issues, legal affairs, graphic design and security.
Furthermore, the UN facilitated signings of the Electoral Code of Conduct throughout Iraq. By signing, political parties and independent candidates pledge to reject intolerance, violence and hate speech, during the campaigning and voting periods. The Electoral Code of Conduct also requires all signatories to respect the freedom of journalists and the media and to support the participation of Iraqi women and minorities. At the United Nations, we are encouraged by such efforts and will continue to back them.
Also worth noting, the United Nations has shared millions of COVID-19 safety items with the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC). These are for distribution at polling stations across the country on Election Day. Important, as a pandemic should not prevent people from casting their valuable votes.
We have also helped IHEC conduct electoral simulations. These trial runs are aimed at identifying flaws – so that Election Day can proceed smoothly.
As the SRSG just said: a fourth simulation took place yesterday. The UN has been happy to support IHEC in its simulation exercises, which are designed to run through the Election Day process – so that flaws can be identified and avoided.
Although IHEC only originally planned for three simulations, they decided to hold a fourth one yesterday. We are encouraged that IHEC took this extra step to build confidence and reassure the public.
A key feature of this election will be the real time display of provisional results at Result Display Centers throughout the country, to help prevent tampering with vote counting.
And we have also published key information online. For instance, information on how voters can file complaints if they see problems on Election Day, or to inform them about what precise actions are being taken to prevent fraud.
The technical assistance that the UN is providing to Iraq’s electoral authorities is aimed at promoting transparency and the integrity of the elections and by doing that we hope it can contribute to rebuilding trust in Iraq’s electoral institutions and processes.
We will now be happy to answer any election-related questions you may have.
Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir
Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq for Political Affairs and Electoral Assistance