[JURIST] The members of Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) [official website; JURIST news archive] collectively resigned on Tuesday. The Board of Commissioners' resignations were meant to protest political interference [Reuters report] based on conflicting parliamentary and judicial decisions excluding certain candidates from Iraq's upcoming election. Iraq's parliament and judiciary have provided conflicting interpretations [BBC report] of Clause 3 of Article 8 of Iraq's Electoral Law, which in part bars candidates "of ill repute." Critics claim that Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki [JURIST news archive] is using the law to eliminate political rivals [Shafaq News report] prior to Iraq's next national vote on April 30. The resignations are pending approval from the IHEC head.
Originally an independent agency, IHEC was placed under the control of the government [JURIST report] in January 2011 following a decision by the Federal Supreme Court, along with Central Bank of Iraq, the Supreme Commission of Human Rights, the Integrity Commission [official websites], the Financial Inspection Office, and the Media and Communications Committee. IHEC conducted numerous election challenges [JURIST news archive] during Iraq's 2010 election cycle, including the disqualification of 52 candidates [JURIST report] allegedly linked to Saddam Hussein's Baath Party [BBC backgrounder]. JURIST Columnist Haider Ala Hamoudi of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law argues that as Iraq's new government matures, the country must address critical issues [JURIST op-ed] left ambiguous in the initial constitution.