Thursday, November 24, 2005

The new election law.

We received several e mails from readers inquiring about the laws that are going to be used in the December elections and whether these laws have changed from what was used back in January or not. So, here I’ll share the little information I know in this regard.

As you all know, Iraq was considered as one electoral circle in the last elections but this time it will be different; each 100,000 citizens will have one representative in the parliament and Iraq will be divided into 18 electoral circles (see numbers below), i.e. each province will constitute one circle and a certain number of seats will be allocated to each province/circle according to its population count.
These 18 circles collectively will make up 230 of the 275 seats of the parliament while the remaining 45 seats are going to be allocated to what is now known as the compensatory national circle.
This national circle was made to serve voters living outside Iraq since their votes cannot be related to particular provinces. This list will also serve two other purposes:

Suppose 100,000 votes were counted in a province and the province has 10 seats allocated to it, this way any party running for office from this province will require 10,000 votes to get one seat. If this party won 22,000 votes, the party will get 2 seats from the province’s share and the 2,000 remaining votes will be added up to other remaining votes won by this party in other provinces (if running in more than 1 province). So 2,000 remaining from this province and for example 1,500 from another and 3,000 from another one will all be added together and if they reach the total required for one seat in the nationwide standard, the party will get one seat in the compensatory national circle in addition to what it originally won in the provinces it was running from.

Smaller parties and ethnic or religious minorities are the ones supposed to benefit more from this mechanism and actually this rule was designed to protect such parties and minorities from losing their votes as this rule will favor ethnic and religious minorities over majorities when counting votes and distributing seats. In January elections, any party that won less than 30,000 votes didn’t get a seat in the National Assembly and the votes lost by smaller parties were redirected to the winning blocs based on their rank, so the United Alliance, Kurdish Allaince and Allawi’s bloc won many extra seats from votes that were not originally given to them!

The 230 seats will be distributed as follows:

Baghdad: 59 seats
Mousil: 19 seats
Basra: 16 seats
Sulaymaniya: 15 seats
Erbil: 13 seats
Dhi Qar: 12 seats
Hilla: 11 seats
Diyala: 10 seats
Anbar: 9 seats
Kirkuk: 9 seats
Kut: 8 seats
Tikrit: 8 seats
Diwaniyya: 8 seats
Najaf: 8 seats
Duhok: 7 seats
Missan: 7 seats
Kerbala: 6 seats
Muthanna: 5 seats
Total: 230 seats


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