Iraqi Independent Electoral Commission

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Dr Farid Ayar is a member of the Iraqi Independent Electoral Commission and a veteran reporter who left the state Iraqi News Agency in the early 1990s and later became secretary-general of the Federation of Arab News Agencies (FANA). Ayar returned to Baghdad as soon as Saddam Hussein was deposed and, in April 2005, began developing the National Iraqi News Agency (NINA) in collaboration with IREX’s director of media programs in Iraq, Joe Raffelberg.[1]

Ambassador Michael Kozak, Acting Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, outlined some of ways in which the U.S. Government is interacting with the Iraqi Independent Electoral Commission:

”…this Commission is something that's separate from the executive branch or the legislative or judicial branches in Iraq. Under the Transitional Administrative Law, it was set up as a -- it was kind of like our SEC or something. It's an element of the government, but it's not subordinate to any of the political or judicial branches. So they have control over the elections. They have been staffed up or receiving technical assistance in this from the United Nations, which has the lead, but also the American NGO… International Foundation for Election Systems … has been working under that UN aegis also in providing technical assistance. So this is the whole range of things, from helping them write the regulations and write the rules for the elections, setting up the training courses and so on for poll workers and that whole range of activity. And it's been going on for some time. So that's one element in which you've got U.S. involvement but it's in that business of supporting the UN and supporting the Iraqi Election Commission.” [2]

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