Sunday, January 30, 2005

Iraq Elections Questions and Answers


Attention! This is not an official website for the Iraqi Elections. This is a private website where Iraq Election information has been compiled for general consumption.

This post will stay at the top of this blog until January 31, 2005. It will be updated routinely as more information regarding the electoral process in Iraq is made available. If there are any discrepancies, please leave a comment in the comments section provided below or email me by clicking on the red box marked "Dispatches" on the left hand side bar. Be sure to include any URLs or links that support the correction.

For additional postings on this blog, please scroll down or review the list of current postings on the left hand side bar.

To review Iraq Elections Q&A, click on the link below to "the inner sanctum".
Iraq Elections Questions and Answers
Last Update: 01/21/05

There has been a lot of confusion about how the Iraqi election will work. MEMRI (Mid East Media Research) has put together a fairly decent synopsis of the situation and process including some information about the different parties and their associations.

This post will consolidate the information from multiple sources, including the Iraqi Election Commission, MEMRI and information gleaned from the Media and other resources, into a question and answer (FAQ) format.

Iraq Election Chart Jan 2005 Posted by Hello

Q: What Day Are The Elections Scheduled?

A: The Nation Wide Elections will be held Monday, Jan 31, 2005.
Update 01/08/05: the election will be held on Sunday, Jan 30, 2005

Q: Who Is Eligible to Vote?

A: 14 Million Iraqis are eligible to vote. Just over half of the population of 25 million. According to CPA Order 96, Section 5,:

  • Deemed an Iraqi Citizen; eligible to reclaim Iraqi Citizenship, eligible for Iraqi citizenship according to Article 11 of the TAL

  • Born on or before December 31, 1986
  • Be registered to vote according to the procedures issued by the Commission
    • Food for Oil food rationing data base was used to determine eligible voters within Iraq
    • Heads of households were instructed to review information on ration cards and update with corrected addresses, names of family members, dates of birth, etc to insure correct data.

  • TAL, Article 20: Every Iraqi who fulfills the conditions stipulated in the electoral law has the right to stand for election and cast his ballot secretly in free, open, fair, competitive, and periodic elections.
  • No Iraqi may be discriminated against for purposes of voting in elections on the basis of gender, religion, sect, race, belief, ethnic origin, language, wealth, or literacy.

Q: Were the Iraqis issued voter's registration cards?

A: No. The food coupon or ration card database will act as the voters registration list.

Q: How will the eligible voters be identified at the polling stations?

A: Each eligible voter will present a valid identification that will be compared to the voters registration list based on the Food For Oil food coupon or ration card database.

Q: How will poll stations know if a voter has already voted?

A: Similar to Afghanistan, as each voter presents themselves at the polling station, their thumb will be dipped into a pot of indelible ink. This ink will not wash off. Voters with indelible ink on their thumbs will not be allowed to vote again.

Q: Where will the polling stations be located?

A: Information on polling stations' specific locations have not been reported by the media. The polling stations will most likely be at schools, community centers, town halls, hospitals or clinics and mosques. May also include original registration centers for the food ration/voter registration data base. There will be 7000 ballot locations

Q: What time will the polling stations be open?

A: 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Sign urging Iraqis to vote: "To give a chance to our children" Posted by Hello

Q: Will Iraqi Citizens outside of the country be allowed to vote?

A: Yes. The International Migration Office will manage this process.

Q: Who will be eligible to vote from outside of the country?

A: Iraqi citizens with a passport or other specified documentation proving citizenship were directed to report to designated "out of country voting" registration stations to be added to the list of eligible voters.

Q: Where can out of country citizens vote?

A: A mail-in ballot is not possible in the short timeframe available to conduct the Iraq OCV Program; therefore registration and voting will be conducted in person at registration centres established for this purpose in the 14 countries. A person must register and vote in the same location. Visit the Iraq Out of Country Voting website for more information.

Q: What are the Iraqis voting for?

A: In the Nation Wide Elections, Iraqis will be issued two ballots, one for each of the following:

  • Representatives to the National Assembly
    • 275 seats are open

  • Representatives to their provincial governate council.
    • Each council has 41 available seats, except for Baghdad which has a 51 seat council.
    • There are 18 governates in all.

In Kurdistan, a third ballot will be issued for the Kurdish Autonomous Parliament which has 111 seats

Q: What will the ballots look like?

A: Each ballot will contain the following:

  • The name of each approved political party or entity that provided a list of candidates for election
    • Note: some political parties have banned together to form one large unifid list (see questions, "How many registered lists of candidates will be on the list?")

  • A registered logo or insignia of the group next to the name of the political part or entity.
  • A box next to the name and logo for marking the voter's selection
  • The ballot for each election (National Assembly; Provincial Governate; Kurdistan Autonomous Parliament) will be a different color. (colors are still unspecified)
  • The ballots will be provided to the registered voter in the language designated (Arabic, Kurdish, Turkomen, etc) at the time of registration

Unknown party, but this political poster reads: For the sake of a prosperous Iraq. Other pictures on the internet show this poster nearly as prominent as the UIC. The symbol used will most likely be the symbol next to the party's name on the ballot. The UIC uses a candle as it's symbol and that will most likely be what appears on the ballot. The Iraq Election Commision rules prohibited the use of religious symbols, Saddamist symbols, pictures of mass graves and other "emotional" symbols from being depicted by the parties or used on the ballot. Posted by Hello

Q: How many boxes or lists of candidates on the ballot will the Iraqis be allowed to select?

A: Only one box or list of candidates can be checked or selected on the ballot.

Q: Who is eligible to run for election to the National Assembly?

A: A nominee to the National Assembly must fulfill the following conditions, TAL Chapter 4, Article 32:

  • He shall be an Iraqi no less than 30 years of age.
  • He shall not have been a member of the dissolved Ba’ath Party with the rank of Division Member or higher, unless exempted pursuant to the applicable legal rules.
  • If he was once a member of the dissolved Ba’ath Party with the rank of Full Member, he shall:
    • Be required to sign a document renouncing the Ba’ath Party and disavowing all of his past links with it
    • Swear that he no longer has any dealings or connection with Ba’ath Party organizations.
    • If it is established in court that he lied or fabricated on this score, he shall lose his seat in the National Assembly.

  • He shall not have been a member of the former agencies of repression and shall not have contributed to or participated in the persecution of citizens.
  • He shall not have enriched himself in an illegitimate manner at the expense of the homeland and public finance.
  • He shall not have been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude and shall have a good reputation.
  • He shall have at least a secondary school diploma, or equivalent
  • He shall not be a member of the armed forces at the time of his nomination.

Q: Will Iraqis be voting for individual candidates to the National Assembly?

A: No. Iraqis will be voting for a list of candidates from registered political parties and entities.

Q: How were the lists of candidates compiled?

A: The registered political parties or entities submitted a list of candidates to the Iraqi Election Commission for review and approval.

  • The list had to contain no less than 12 and no more than 275 (the number of seats in the Assembly) candidates
  • Candidates on the list had to meet the requirements for eligibility under question "Who is eligible to run for election to the National Assembly?".
  • The candidates are ranked numbering 1 through 275 (depending on the number of candidates supplied on the list) by the submitting political party or entity

Q: How many registered lists of candidates will be on the ballot?

A: As of December 3, 2004, 226 political parties or entities were registered with the Iraqi Election Commission. Many of these political parties have banded together to provide "unified" lists, such as the Kurdistan Alliance List which consists of candidates from all of the Kurdish political parties. The Iraqi Election Blog notes 17 known unified lists of candidates. Additional "unified lists" may appear on the ballot.

Update 01/08/05: There are 83 slates or lists of candidates that will appear on the ballot.

Update 01/13/05: The brothers at Iraq The Model informed me that their Iraq Pro-Democracy Party has fronted a list of 12 candidates. Their random party number from the IEC is 319.

Update 01/13/05: Zeyad, an Iraqi Blogger takes a look at some of the parties, their members and their history. The New Iraq also takes a look at some of the parties and their members.

Children play beneath a sign for the United Iraqi Alliance which reads:Voting for the United Iraqi Alliance is voting for a multi-cultural society. The UIC is the major "shia" party in the elections, but has a joint list that includes many secularists and "Sunni" candidates. Posted by Hello

Update 01/13/05:
Q: How will the lists of candidates be ordered on the ballot?

A: Each party was assigned a random three digit number. This became their party registration number and will appear on the ballot beside their party name. A lottery was held and each party's number was placed in the lottery bin. The numbers were then drawn and the order of the drawing is the order that they will appear on the ballot, regardless of the size or prominance of the party or the random three digit number assigned to them by the Iraq Election Commission.

Police officer stands in front of a billboard urging Iraqis to vote. On his ak47 magazine is the number "179" which is the random three digit number given to the United Iraqi Alliance, the major "Shia" party. Posted by Hello

Q: Are women allowed to stand for election?

A: Yes. According to the TAL, Chapter 4, Article 31, women must make up no less than 1/4, or one quarter, of the National Assembly. To achieve this goal, every 3rd (third) candidate on the list of candidates must be a woman.

  • Since the lists are "ranked", this means that, out of candidates ranked 1, 2, or 3, one of the candidates must be a woman. Out of candidates ranked 4, 5 and 6, one of the candidates must be a woman. And, so on and so forth.
  • Update 01/13/05: To insure that the law requiring the assembly to be 25% women is adhered to, women lower on the list of candidates provided by the party will be given precedence over any men listed above them on the list.

Q: How will the 275 seats of the National Assembly be allocated?

A: The seats on the National Assembly will be allocated on a proportional scale, based on the percentage of votes received.

  • There are 14 million registered voters and 275 seats
  • Each seat is worth 43,636 votes
  • If party A received 10% of the votes or 1.4 million, party A will have 10% or 28 seats on the national assembly.
  • Party A's seats will be filled from the list of candidates provided.
  • Since the lists of candidates are ranked 1 through 275, the first 28 candidates on the list, or ranked 1 through 28, will be given a seat on the Assembly

British soldier stands beneath a political poster in Iraq. Unknown party, but I wanted to post it to show that there are different parties posting election posters. The symbol here is a date tree I believe and, again, is probably the symbol that will appear for this party on the ballot. Posted by Hello

Q: Will the Iraqis be voting for the position of President?

A: No. This election is strictly for the open seats in the National Assembly and local councils.

Q: How is the President Elected?

A: The National Assembly elects the Presidency Council, TAL Chapter 5, Article 36.

  • The Presidency Council consists of the President and two deputies or Vice Presidents.
  • A single list of candidates who are eligible to fill any position on the council will be presented to the National Assembly.
  • The National Assembly will elect a President and his two deputies from this list.
  • The candidate for President must receive a majority vote of 2/3 or two thirds of the Assembly.

Q: Does this mean that President Gazi al-Yawar may be replaced after the election of the National Assembly on January 30, 2005?

A: Yes. After the National Assembly is elected, they (the National Assembly) will elect a new Presidency Council which will include a President and two deputies or Vice Presidents.

Updated 01/13/05
Q: Can President Gazi al-Yawar run for election to the National Assembly or as President?

A: Yes. There are no rules prohibiting currently serving members of the Transitional Government from running in the elections. The only rules of prohibition are listed under "Who is eligible to become a member of the Presidency Council?" and he or she cannot be holding another position in the government at the same time. If they are elected as President, they have to resign their position. They must also not be a serving/active member of the armed services and must have resigned their position twelve (12) months in advance of the election.

Q: Who is eligible to become a member of the Presidency Council?

A: A nominee for the Presidency Council must fulfill all of the conditions for an Assembly member AND, TAL Chapter 5, Article 36:

  • He must be at least forty years of age.
  • He must possess a good reputation, integrity, and rectitude.
  • If he was a member of the dissolved Ba’ath Party, he must have left the dissolved Party at least ten years before its fall.
  • He must not have participated in repressing the intifada of 1991 or the Anfal campaign and must not have committed a crime against the Iraqi people.

Q: Will the Iraqis be voting for the position of Prime Minister?

A: No. This election is strictly for the open seats in the National Assembly and local councils.

Q: How is the Prime Minister elected?

A: After the President is elected by the National Assembly, the President will nominate an eligible person for the position, TAL Chapter 5, Article 38.

  • The nominee for Prime Minister will be presented to the National Assembly.
  • The Prime Minister must obtain a vote of confidence from the National Assembly by a simple majority.
    • This means, of the 275 seats on the assembly, the Prime Minister must receive 138 affirmative (Yea/Yes) votes from the National Assembly

Q: Does this mean that Prime Minister Iyad Allawi may be replaced after the election of the National Assembly on January 30, 2005?

A: Yes. After the National Assembly is elected, they will elect a new Presidency Council. The new Presidency Council will nominate a candidate for a new Prime Minister. (see question, "How is the Prime Minister elected?")

Updated 01/13/05
Q: Can Prime Minister Allawi run for election to the National Assembly or as President or Prime Minister?

A: Yes. There are no rules prohibiting currently serving members of the Transitional Government from running in the elections. The only rules of prohibition are listed under "Who is eligible to for nomination as Prime Minister?" and he or she cannot be holding another position in the government at the same time. If they are elected as Prime Minister, they have to resign their position. They must also not be a serving/active member of the armed services and must have resigned their position twelve (12) months in advance of the election.

Q: Who is eligible for nomination as Prime Minister?

A: The qualifications for Prime Minister must be the same as for the members of the Presidency Council except that his age must not be less than 35 years upon his taking office, TAL Chapter 5, Article 38

Q: What is the responsibility of the National Assembly that will be elected January 31?

A: The National Assembly will be responsible for writing the new Iraqi Constitution which will take the place of the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) signed into law by special ambassador L. Paul Bremer. TAL Chapter 9, Article 60

A man walks by political posters in Baghdad. I can't make out the words, but the picture is of al-Husayn, head of the Iraq Constitutional Monarchy Party. Iraq Constitutional Monarch Posted by Hello

Q: Will the average Iraqi citizen have input for the constitution or will it be written solely by the assembly?

A: During the period that the constitution is being developed and written, the National Assembly will present regular reports through the media, news briefings, public meetings throughout Iraq and other devices on the progress and the laws under consideration. These presentations are to encourage debate and feedback from the citizens. TAL, Chapter 9, Article 60.

Q: How will the new Constitution become the law of the land?

A: The National Assembly will have until August 15, 2005 to write the new Iraqi Constitution. TAL, Chapter 9, Article 61

  • The final version will be presented to the people after that date through public distribution and the media.
  • A general referendum will be held on or before October 15, 2005.
    • Definition of referendum: The submission of a proposed public measure or actual statute to a direct popular vote

Billboard reads: "To give a chance to our children". Urging Iraqis to vote. Plastered on the bottom are signs for the United Iraqi Alliance, the main "Shia" party which also has a number of secular and "Sunni" smaller parties that joined it on it's list of candidates. Posted by Hello

Q: What happens if the National Assembly does not have a constitution written and ready for the general referendum by August 15, 2005?

A: The president of the National Assembly (not to be confused with the Presidency Council; similar to the Speaker of the House or President of the Senate in the US), no later than August 1, 2005, must inform the Presidency Council that the Assembly requires more time.

    • This can only be done if 2/3, or two thirds, of the National Assembly votes or agrees that more time is needed.

  • The time to create the constitution can be extended for another six months but no longer
    • This means a constitution must be presented by April 15, 2006

  • The TAL or Transitional Administrative Law will remain the law of the land until the constitution is written

Q: What if the National Assembly is still unable to write the new Consitution after the date was extended?

A: The National Assembly will be disolved and a new National Assembly will be elected by the people of Iraq.

Q: How many votes in the general referendum must be received for the constitution to be ratified or voted into law?

A: The constitution must receive a simple majority of the popular vote AND not be rejected by the people in three or more provinces, TAL Chapter 9, Article 61C

  • To determine simple majority, the total number of votes cast will be tallied.
  • If the total number of votes on the constitution are 12,500,000, then 6,251,000 or more voters must have answered or voted affirmative (Yea/Yes)
  • The votes will also be broken down by governates. There are 18 governates in Iraq.
    • If governate A has 800,000 voters and 400,000 or more vote negative (Nay/No),
    • governate B has 500,000 voters and 250,000 or more vote negative (Nay/No) and
    • governate C has 1 million voters and 500,000 or more vote negative (Nay/No),
    • even though the total votes across the country may equal the popular majority (6,251,000) required to ratify the constitution, it will still be considered "rejected".

Iraqi actors perform at a Baghdad theater. The program urged Iraqis to vote and warned them about the dangers facing Iraq. If I had to interpret this image, the man in front is throwing off his "chains" and the people are being "freed" from their cages. Posted by Hello

Update 01/21/05:

To see televised broadcasts of Iraqi election campaign ads, go to MemriTV

For daily updates on the progress of elections and the situation in the many provinces of Iraq, go to Friends of Democracy: Iraq


Fayrouz said...

Hey Kat,

You did a great job here. Thank you for the info.

Anonymous said...


This might not be the official election site, but it should be. If this info got out to the streets it would change the whole complextion of the debate. Maybe the Iraqis would be talking about what should be in their Constitution rather than who will be the temporary President for the next few months.

How is the Constitution to be used and enforced; can it or should it be changed for "light and transient causes" (Thomas Jefferson); who or what is the final arbitor of constitutional disputes and how; do the rights of the people come FROM the government or do the rights of the government come FROM the people; who controls the military and in what situations can it be used; who controls the national purse and how are the monies to be obtained and dispersed?

Is anyone thinking of these very basic questions?

Brian K

Kat said...

Brian, you are so right to ask those questions. For instance, I bet (and I will blog on it) a bunch of people don't know that after the new constitution is written and ratified, it will most likely outline a new form of government. It may not look like the current parliamentary structure.

Furthermore, after the constitution is ratified, whatever form of government that it calls for will have a new election to elect NEW representatives to the NEW government on Dec 15, 2005. Just two short months later.

It is their constitution that matters now and most of these folks don't get it because, you are right, they are more worried about who their "leader" is than what might happen to them if they don't put the right laws, checks and balances, etc in place. The leader is, as much as we even talk about our president, only a small cog in the wheel of government as he should be.

I'm not sure the average Iraqi on the street gets that.

Pat in NC said...

Kat, Another excellent blog. I posted about your blog and specifically this information. Hope you get lots of traffic since it is important that all of us understand. Those who have not read Iraqi blogs probably have little idea of what is involved in this important election. Thanks again for all the research you do.

Glitch said...

Kat - awesome!My only concern now: Is the 'timeline' for pursuing a new constitution AND follow-up general elections realistic?

If following the new elections it is decided to extend the time frame wonder what kind of impact it will have...

Take care! :)

The Sandmonkey said...

I agree with Brian. This should be the Iraqi election information website. Great job and an awesome blog as usual!

dcat said...

A chant for peace hear us,
I call on the innocent souls that have parted, hear us,
Who fought and believed in this freedom, hear us,
Come forth to avenge the living, hear us,
To take down the disbelievers, hear us,
To end the terrorist evil, hear us,
We ask for them to be dealt with, hear us,

Oh mighty, peaceful spirit of life everlasting, defeat the evil against these good people and all good people here on earth, that have suffered so long, hear us,

We would like the terrorist dead, we would like them all dead, and we want the evil with them to descend to a place only you can destroy, with your almighty hand, to the everlasting fires of hell. Oh Lord of Lords we pray, and may they never surface again, may you keep them in the darkness, of all eternity. (Keep repeating)

So much for the virgins! So give it up, you loose, you scum sucking terrorist!

Anonymous said...


Man is earth's Choicemaker. He is by nature and nature's
God a creature of Choice - and of Criteria. His unique and
definitive characteristic is, and of Right ought to be, the
natural foundation of his environments, institutions, and
respectful relations to his fellow-man. Thus, he is oriented
to a Freedom whose roots are in the natural Order of the

an American Choicemaker