Electoral Assistance

UN Electoral Support

Pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 2522 (2020), the United Nations is mandated to provide advice, support and assistance to the Government of Iraq and the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) with efforts to plan and execute genuinely free and fair Iraqi-led, Iraqi-owned elections and referenda, including through regular technical reviews and detailed reporting on electoral preparations and processes, as part of the Secretary-General's regular reporting cycle.

UNAMI’s Office of Electoral Assistance, established in 2004, coordinates all electoral support delivered by UNAMI and all UN entities in Iraq in one Integrated Electoral Assistance Team (IEAT).

IEAT provides strategic and technical advice to those Iraqi institutions involved in electoral events, primarily the IHEC, the Council of Representatives, and the various governmental entities. It also seeks to promote close and productive engagement with electoral stakeholders, the media and civil society to facilitate inclusive, sustainable and credible electoral processes.

In line with its mandate, UNAMI prepares and publishes a monthly report on Iraq’s ongoing electoral preparations and processes. Please click here to access UNAMI’s monthly report on Iraq’s elections.


The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) https://www.ihec.iq 

IHEC is a constitutional body mandated to oversee, organize and conduct elections and referenda in Iraq. It was established in 2007 replacing its precursor the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI), which in turn was set up as an election body in May 2004.

In line with efforts to pursue electoral reforms, Iraq enacted a new IHEC Law on 5 December 2019. The new law, IHEC Law No. 31 of 2019, significantly overhauled the IHEC’s structure and functions. It provided for the appointment of nine (9) new commissioners, all of whom are first class judges, chosen by lottery based on nomination by the High Judicial Council (5 members), State Shura Council (2 members) and the Kurdistan High Judicial Council (2 members). The law also mandated the appointment of new officials for senior and mid-level positions in the restructured IHEC.

The current nine (9) commissioners drawn from the Judiciary (including one woman) took office on 13 January 2020. The Board of Commissioners (BoC) serves for a non-renewable period of four years, starting from the date of the issuance of the Presidential Decree on their appointment. The BoC elects its Chairman, the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Rapporteur and Deputy Chair. The CEO is elected for a period of one year and is responsible for implementing the policies as head of the electoral administration.

Click here to see the list of members of the IHEC BOC.

IHEC has its headquarters in Baghdad, with a regional office in Kurdistan (Erbil) and electoral offices in the 18 governorates (there are 19 IHEC governorate electoral offices (GEOs) overall, since Baghdad governorate has two - Rasafa and Karkh). The Commission has around 4,000 permanent civil servants across its offices, plus additional staff hired on a temporary basis during elections.

Click here to see the map of Iraqi governorates where the GEOs are located.

The COR has oversight responsibility for the IHEC BOC, which is governed by the Iraqi Constitution and the IHEC Law 31 (2019). The staff members of the IHEC work in accordance with the civil service code.

Elections in Iraq post-2003

The first credible elections in Iraq were held to select a national parliament in January 2005 as part of the constitutional drafting process. These were followed by parliamentary elections in December 2005, governorate council elections in January 2009, national parliamentary elections in March 2010, governorate council elections in April 2013 (with elections in Nineveh and Anbar governorates in June 2013), national parliamentary elections in 2014 and the most recent national parliamentary elections in 2018.

Elections in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (the three governorates of Dohuk, Erbil and Sulaymaniah) have followed a different electoral calendar. Governorate and parliamentary elections were held in KRI in January 2005 to coincide with the national parliamentary elections. Four years later, in July 2009, parliamentary and presidential elections were held. Parliamentary elections were held in September 2013 and governorate council elections were organized together with the national parliamentary elections in April 2014.

In December 2014, the Kurdistan Region’s High Electoral Commission (KHEC) was established with responsibilities since then for organizing the KRI’s regional level electoral events. The first electoral event managed and organized by KHEC was the regional parliamentary elections that took place in November 2018.

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