Wednesday, January 05, 2005


Recipe for Chaos

You think we had a mess in the US elections? Wait until the Iraqis (maybe) go to the polls on Jan. 30, 2005, when the entire country will be voting for all 275 members of a National Assembly (NA) that will then choose (from its membership) a President and two Deputies who will appoint a Prime Minster and a Council of Ministers to govern Iraq until adoption of a new constitution by nationwide referendum. The NA will also write the constitution that will be presented for approval by the Iraqi people by 15oct2005 (or by April 2006 if they need more time). (For excruciating details see the "Transitional Administrative Law" on the CPA's website.)

All 7,000 candidates for NA will be represented on a single ballot, most as members of party lists, so that there will be approximately 200 choices on the ballot. Each voter can choose only a single entry from the 200 listed on the ballot, so they can vote for an independent candidate or for a party list but not both. The party lists are ranked lists of candidates who have chosen to run together. If an independent candidate receives more than 1/275th of the vote nationwide, (s)he will be seated in the NA. If a given party list receives, say, 10% of the nationwide vote, then the first 27.5 people on that list will be seated in the NA. Some parties have submitted lists of 275 candidates, but they would have to receive 100% of the votes nationwide in order to seat their entire list. (For more details, go here.)

To make matters worse, voters will also be choosing 41 members of a "governorate council" to represent the governorate in which they reside (there are 18 of these "states" in Iraq). Finally, voters in the governorates of Dohuk, Arbil, Sulaimiya, Kirkuk, Diyala, and Neneveh will also be voting for members of a "Kurdistan Regional Government". Yikes.

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