On 11 November the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the IOM that mandated it to conduct an Out-of-Country Voting (OCV) Program on behalf, and under the supervision of the IECI. This Program enabled 280,303 Iraqis living abroad to participate in the Iraqi Transitional National Assembly Election which took place on 30 January 2005.
IOM was chosen to implement the Iraq OCV Program based on its considerable experience in organizing such external voting programs. Since 1996, IOM has conducted OCV activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo (Serbia and Montenegro) and East Timor. More recently, in 2004, IOM organized the largest refugee Out-of-Country Registration and Voting program ever held, which gave 850,000 Afghans residing in Pakistan and Iran the opportunity to take part in Afghanistan’s first democratic election.
The Iraq OCV Program established its Headquarters in Amman, Jordan and secured agreements with the Governments of 14 countries selected by the IECI to host OCV, established in all 14 countries and recruited, trained and deployed over 7,000 staff members, of which almost 90% were Iraqi.
|IOM was chosen to implement the Iraq OCV Program based on its considerable experience in organizing such external voting programs.|
On 17 January, 74 Registration Centers opened in 36 different cities (15 more than originally proposed by IECI) across the 14 countries. Nine days later OCV concluded registration of 280,303 Iraqis.
Polling took place over three days, from 28 to 30 January. A total of 265,148 Iraqis, equal to 93.6% of the total registered voters had voted in the OCV programme.
Though not directly an IOM-Iraq Programme, the Mission nevertheless provided a high level of administrative and logistical support assisting the OCV and country office operations in Amman.
For the OCV Programme IOM chose to rely on existing IOM offices to provide many ‘back office’ services, including making all payments, This enabled the Programme to take advantage of existing and preferential arrangements, and made it possible for IOM to begin operations in only 67 days (from the signing of the agreement with IECI to the date of registration).