IRAQ: Joseph Sliwa raises electoral law violations with Independent High Electoral Commission

ANKAWA, Iraq – Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian candidate for the Bethnahrain Patriotic Union Joseph Sliwa addressed several violations of electoral law, particularly in areas with a predominant Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian population. Sliwa sent a letter of complaint to the Independent High Electoral Commission, the International Commission responsible for monitoring the Iraqi elections, and to the leadership of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

Sliwa also posted the letter on social media a day before the parliamentary elections in Iraq. His first compliant was about security officers belonging to the Kurdish regional government knocking on doors of Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian homes in Ankawa, Erbil, and other areas, demanding a vote for a specific candidate; “We don’t think it’s the task of the Asayish [the internal security forces in the Kurdish Region in Iraq], especially not of the KDP, to put pressure on citizens during elections. Instead, it is their task to protect the opinion of the voter,” Sliwa stated in his complaint.

Sliwa also said a group of KDP youths had terrorized unarmed citizens by distributing cards that read, “Mandatory choice”, in front of two polling stations in the al-Nahrain school in Ankawa where the majority of the population is of the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people. “Does the [KDP] party understand peaceful coexistence and respect for the right to freely choose?” Sliwa asked.

One last complaint concerned violations that took place in Bartella, Nineveh Plain. Sliwa stated that individuals and families of Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian members of the KDP-run Zarifani forces were contacted through their responsible officers to vote for a specific candidate of favor under threat of losing their job or their salary being cut. “Forcing voters in this way and threatening to cut their livelihoods on election days does not produce real representatives of the people,” Sliwa said.