Sunday, December 19, 2004

List System 101

We will try to keep everyone informed as much as possible on the upcoming January 30 elections in Iraq. First, I thought I'd offer some of the list-system basics that I've learned after doing a little research. If you have anything to add, please comment and I'll edit later. The following comes from the Center for Democracy and Voting website:
These are key facts about the vote:


Voters will choose 275 members of a national assembly, whose key task will be to debate and approve a new constitution. It will also oversee a new government to succeed the interim administration appointed in June by the U.S.-led occupation authority in consultation with the United Nations. The assembly is intended to be dissolved and a new parliament elected according to the new constitution by the end of 2005.

In addition, elections are planned for local assemblies as well as to the autonomous Kurdish parliament in the north.


All Iraqis over 18 on January 1 can vote -- perhaps some 15 million of an estimated population of 26 million. All those with a valid ration card -- relics of U.N. sanctions -- can vote and have until December 15 to amend details of their registration.

This is a single, national ballot, without constituencies so voters are expected to have a choice of polling stations, including some consulates abroad. They will cast one vote for a list of candidates put forward by a party or group of parties.

Seats will be allocated by proportional representation. So a list that wins, say, 20 percent of the vote will receive 55 seats, attributed to the top 55 names on its list of candidates.

To repeat the basic points:

1. Any Iraqi over 18 who has registered can vote.

2. Each Iraqi votes for ONE list of candidates.

3. The list of candidates may be from one political group or from a coalition of political groups.

4. The votes for the different lists will be added and then given proportional representation. More votes gets each list more candidates into the 275-person national assembly.

5. This elected national assembly will write a new constitution, just like Afghanistan had to do.


Ambassador Fayrouz put up the latest collection of lists from groups who have formed a coalition last night.


Let's take a look at a very large coalition of groups from the update provided by Fayrouz:
United Iraqi Coalition includes:
1. Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq.
2. Islamic Da'wa Party.
3. Centrist Assembly Party.
4. Badr Organization.
5. Islamic Da'wa Party / Iraq's Organization.
6. Justice and Equality Assembly.
7. Iraqi National Conference Party.
8. Islamic Virtue Party.
9. First Democratic National Party.
10. Islamic Union of Iraqi Turkmen.
11. Turkmen loyalty Movement.
12. Islamic Philee Assembly in Iraq.
13. Islamic Work Organization.
14. Future Iraq Assembly.
15. Hizbella (Party of Allah) Movement in Iraq.
16. Islamic Master of martyrs Movement.

Number of candidates: 228

If 35% of all Iraqis vote for this particular coalition, then they get 35% of the seats on the national assembly. This is clear. I do have a question, however. Who from all these different parties gets those seats in the assembly. Will SCIRI members get the most seats or are they divided equally, no matter how small or large your group is? If anyone has that answer, please comment.


UPDATE: I just reread this paragraph:
Seats will be allocated by proportional representation. So a list that wins, say, 20 percent of the vote will receive 55 seats, attributed to the top 55 names on its list of candidates.

Okay, so the higher you are on the coalition list, the more likely you will get a seat in the assembly. Being Number 200 on a list of 238 candidates is not, I imagine, a good place to be.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's another way to look at the January 30 elections.

Iraq has a population of around 26 million with perhaps 15 million eligible to vote.

If 15 million Iraqis vote, we get 15 million divided by 275 open seats. Therefore, for each seat won by the coalition group, they will need to get around 55,000 votes.

If 10 million Iraqis vote, we have 10 million divided by 275, which results in around 36,000 votes for each seat on the national assembly.


I wanted to wait until tomorrow to discuss the troubling events that have occurred in the Iraqi blogosphere over the past few days, but right now I'm going to present the post I wrote for Ali over at Iraq the Model when he announced last night that he was going to stop blogging:
Ali, I understand your decision. Back in August, after following everything that happened in Iraq each and every day for two years, I finally hit a wall when Allawi allowed Muqtada al-Sadr to walk away from Najaf. I had warned my readers at Iraqi Bloggers Central that if the Fat Boy walks, I would close down the blog. Why? You know and I know how much work goes into maintaining a blog. Like you, I researched, wrote, and put up blogs every day -- along with a full-time teaching position. But after all that to let Muqty walk away to fight another day?! For me, that was a wall I could no longer climb over. I shut my blog down. I took a break. Now, months later, the semester is almost over here and I've started to blog again. I hope to run my blog daily until Jan. 30 elections.

Ali, I imagine that whatever it is you're confronting now is too much to bear. And that I understand. You too, I guess, have hit a wall you can't get over. If you need to step away, do it.

I am one of the old gang who has been with you and your brothers from the beginning. Whatever you do, you have my support, even if it means that you no longer blog.

Thanks for all the support you and your brothers have given to me and thanks for showing me the heart and mind of a great Iraqi.


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