Iraq’s Electoral Preparations and Processes Report No. 3 (4 November 2020)

Situation Report
Originally published
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Highlights for October

  • The Council of Representatives finally approves the distribution of electoral constituencies in all eighteen governorates.

  • IHEC, awaiting confirmation of the electoral budget, continues with electoral preparations, including resumption of biometric voter registration and preparations for an audit of electoral IT and results management systems.

  • New IHEC Directors-General and managers of governorate electoral offices assume their functions; further key positions remain to be finalised.

Electoral Legislation

On 24 October, following successive parliamentary sessions on the topic, the Council of Representatives approved the distribution of electoral constituencies for sixteen of Iraq’s governorates. The apportioning of constituencies in the remaining two governorates, Ninewa and Kirkuk, were approved on 26 and 29 October, respectively, following intensive discussions among political actors, including leaders of political blocs and those governorates’ Members of Parliaments.

Under the provisions endorsed by the Council of Representatives, governorates will be divided into several constituencies, the number for each governorate corresponding to its number of seats reserved for female parliamentarians. There will be a total of 83 constituencies nationwide. The delineation of constituency boundaries will be guided by the location of food ration centres and voter registration centres, grouping one or more to form each electoral constituency. Constituencies will each comprise 3-5 parliamentary seats (one of which will be reserved for a female MP), according to population density. Voters will vote for individual candidates, with seats allocated to those candidates receiving the highest number of votes (in electoral parlance, the system of Single Non-Transferable Vote).

The complete electoral legislation (the text approved last December and the annexes just finalised) will now be submitted by the Council of Representatives for endorsement by the President. It will come into force once published in the official gazette.

Since this legislation is integral to the electoral process, this is a significant and welcome step forward in electoral preparations.