Iraq Provincial Elections Activity (IPEA)

Speeches Shim

Iraqi protests 2019 Baghdad Tahrir Square
Iraqis protesting Tahrir Square in Baghdad in 2019
Menarights

Transparent and fair elections are an important step in the democratic process and contribute to national stability. USAID is supporting the Iraqi electoral process by building the organizational capacity of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) and fostering inclusive and responsive civic engagement by all Iraqis. 

Project Snapshot

  • Partners: CEPPS through International Republican Institute (IRI) and International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES)

  • Locations: Whole country; CSO activities are targeting Anbar, Baghdad, Mosul, Dhi Qar, Kirkuk, Najaf, Dohuk, Tikrit, Diyala, Babil, Karbala, Diwaniyah, Ninawa, and Basra

  • Budget: $25.4 million

  • Duration: October 2018 - September 2023

Context 

In 2018, Iraq held its first nationwide election since the military defeat of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Though it held the potential to steer the country towards a more democratic political process, the low voter turnout, claims of fraud, and significant delays in the results all worked to discredit the vote and call further into question the capacity of the government to respond to citizens’ needs. In 2020, in response to demands of anti-government protesters, the Iraqi Prime Minister announced that the parliamentary elections would be held in June 2021,  a year earlier than anticipated. Later, the Council of Ministers endorsed a revised elections date of October 10, 2021 to allow for additional time for political parties’ and voter registration, resolve operational and budgetary challenges, and address broader security and health-related challenges.  Transparent and fair elections are an important step in the democratic process and contribute to national stability. As the 2021 election draws near, Iraq faces several challenges to ensuring a transparent and inclusive election process, including: building the organizational capacity of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), fostering inclusive and responsive civic engagement by all Iraqis, and mitigating threats of election interference.

USAID Response 

Since 2018, the Iraqi Provincial Elections Activity (IPEA) has supported Iraq’s electoral process by: 

  • Building the organizational capacity of the IHEC to manage complex processes with integrity and competence and defend against malign influence. USAID provides technical support and advice on election operations, including voter registration and education, public information, and election-related technologies. The project also assists the GOI in reforming electoral legislation to improve efficiency, participation, and transparency. 
  • Enhancing citizen understanding of the electoral process and fostering greater civic engagement, particularly among youth, internally-displaced persons, and other marginalized communities. Working closely with local partner organizations, the project is helping the IHEC in expanding their outreach efforts to the Iraqi public and political entities, including creating opportunities for direct dialogue and discussion in order to combat disinformation and inaccurate news, especially through social media.

Achievements to Date

  • Building strong relationships with the IHEC and the Board of Commissioner: the IHEC sees the value in USAID’s technical assistance and support in building partnerships with Iraqi Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).

  • Increased knowledge among local civil society partners on designing and implementing civic education curricula. To date, USAID has provided technical assistance to 13 Iraqi civil society organizations. 

  • Increasing female political participation: USAID worked with IHEC to revise regulation on the candidacy process in alignment with IFES recommendations to remove undue restrictions that limited eligibility, particularly for female candidates. 

  • Enhanced visibility: content developed by the IPEA project and its Iraqi CSO partners have had nearly 3.5 million views, reactions, and interactions on social media.

     

 
 

Last updated: March 03, 2021

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