Abu Dhabi: With over a month until Iraq goes to the polls, Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi said on Wednesday attempts to rig the early parliamentary elections were foiled.
The revelation comes amid speculation and media leaks that the intelligence service had arrested former Electoral Commission member Miqdad Al Sharifi on accusations of involvement in fraud in previous elections, local media reported.
Official authorities did not issue any confirmation.
“The security services carried out a preemptive operation in which they thwarted an attempt to rig the elections by putting pressure on a number of election commission employees, with the aim of mixing political cards and creating chaos,” a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said.
The statement added that the security services arrested a number of suspects as part of a group that tried to rig the elections.
The suspects worked by investing their relations with employees of the Electoral Commission, with the aim of provoking political chaos in Iraq, through a social media network, including a site called “The Green Lady.”
This site recently appeared and published news and scandals about some political blocs and figures.
The statement said: “The government’s commitment to secure, fair elections, provide all its requirements, maintain its neutral responsibility for competition in the electoral process and support it.”
It added: “The government will perform its legal duty to bring to trial any party trying to abuse this role, falsify facts, accuse the Prime Minister’s office unfairly and slanderously, or try to derail the elections.”
Twenty-one electoral coalitions will run in Iraq’s upcoming parliamentary elections in October, according to the country’s election commission.
The Al Fatah Alliance headed by Shia politician Hadi Al Amiri and the State of Law Coalition led by former Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki are the two main parties running in the vote. There are also the National Power of the State Coalition led by Ammar Al Hakim and Al Nasr Coalition of former Premier Haidar Al Abadi.
Prominent Shia cleric Muqtada Al Sadr has announced his boycott of the upcoming parliamentary elections in Iraq.
The polls were originally scheduled to be held in 2022, but Iraq’s political parties have decided to hold early elections following mass protests that erupted in the country in 2019 against deep-seated corruption and poor services.