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Kurdistan issues 438K biometric voter cards in runup to election

Kurdistan issues 438K biometric voter cards in runup to election
 

Kurdistan has distributed 438,000 biometric voter cards over the past seven months, as the Iraqi region prepares for its long-overdue parliamentary elections set to take place this fall.

Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) published the new figures last week after President Nechirvan Barzani announced that parliamentary elections will be held on October 20th, 2024. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the majority of local political parties have also expressed support for the elections, according to Kurdistan24.

Around 3.8 million voters are eligible for the Kurdistan Region Parliament election, which has faced several postponements since October 2022. In March 2023, Kurdistan adopted a new voter registration system, requiring electronic biometric cards for voting as introduced by IHEC. Three different types of biometric voter cards are issued, including one to refugees.

The most recent delay moved the election date from June 10 to the fall of 2024. Among other issues, the delay was caused by disputes over the new biometric voting system with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) claiming that the rule would affect voters using temporary cards instead of biometric voter IDs. Concerns were also raised over voting machines not recognizing voter fingerprints.

Disagreements reached a boiling point in March when KDP threatened to boycott the elections. In June, KDP finally confirmed its participation in the polls, after the IHEC and the Iraqi Federal Court finally agreed to introduce changes to the voting process.

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