Sunday, December 11, 2005

Israeli-Iraqis can vote

Iraqi law doesn't bar Iraqi dual-nationals, even those holding Israeli or Iranian passports, from voting in out-of-country polling for Iraq's upcoming parliamentary elections, a top Iraqi election official said Sunday, AP reports in the Jerusalem Post (with thanks: Lily).

Hamida al-Hussaini, director of out-of-country voting in the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, told reporters that Iraq's election law says "anyone who carries an Iraqi citizenship has the right to cast ballot in the upcoming parliamentary elections."

"The law doesn't state what could be done in the case of dual nationals," she said, answering a question on whether Israelis or Iranians of Iraqi origin can vote. She avoided specifically naming Israel and Iran.

"How would we know about a person's other nationality? We will only be checking documents verifying Iraqi nationality," al-Hussaini said.

Participation by Iraqi-Israelis _ numbering an estimated 290,000 _ is expected to be limited as there will be no polling stations in Israel and they must vote in another country, said Mordechai Ben-Porat, who led the Jewish underground in Iraq and helped organize the 1950s exodus of Iraq's Jews.

"If there had been a polling station in Israel, I would definitely go," Ben-Porat said, adding Jordan will be the closest polling station.

Two Iraqi-born Israeli journalists twice traveled to Jordan to cast votes in the last election to prove their Iraqi identity and then to vote, said Ben-Porat.

(Ed's note: AP is inaccurate in its talk of dual-nationals - Jews are entitled to vote if one parent was born in Iraq.)

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