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Legislatives in Iraq: voters, candidates and the electoral system

Ⓒ AFP – Shwan Mohammed – | A voter dressed in a typical Kurdish costume smears his ink finger after voting in the Iraqi legislative elections on May 12, 2018 in Sulaimaniya

The Iraqis choose 329 deputies this Saturday. After the elections, governed by a proportional system with imposed quotas, the winning lists will have to ally to form a government.

Next, the figures and key information of these legislative elections, the fourth since the American invasion in 2003:

INHABITANTS: 38 million

ELECTORS: almost 24.5 million, distributed in 18 provinces considered as circumscriptions. Among them, 3.5 million vote for the first time.

Nearly one million Iraqis living in 21 foreign countries have already voted, according to the election commission.

CANDIDATES: 6,990, of which 2,011 are women.

ELECTORAL SCHOOLS: 8,443, all equipped for electronic voting. According to the authorities, nearly 11 million biometric cards were distributed.

Nearly one million displaced people can vote, in theory. The 285,564 people living in displaced persons camps will vote in 166 authorized electoral colleges in 70 camps spread across eight provinces of the country.

Ⓒ AFP – Joyce HANNA – | The outgoing Iraqi Parliament, distribution of seats and political tendencies

ESCAÑOS: 329, nine of which are reserved for minorities (Christian, Shabak, Sebeos, Yazidías and Kurds faily -chiitas-) and 83 for women.


TYPE OF SCRUTINY: Proportional. The voters vote for a list and then the seats are attributed to the different parties in proportion to the number of votes they obtained. The elected candidates are chosen based on their position on the list.

There are 87 lists in play. The main ones are:

– ALLIANCE OF VICTORY, led by the outgoing Prime Minister, Haider Al Abadi. This year, for the first time since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, his historic opposition, the Daawa party, is divided. Abadi, coming from that formation, directs a list composed mainly of personalities of the civil society that affirms to be above all confession.

– ALLIANCE OF THE CONQUEST, led by the Badr organization and the leader of the Popular Mobilization Forces, which helped the Iraqi troops to expel the jihadist group Islamic State (IS). His candidates officially left their military functions to appear at the elections.

– ALLIANCE OF THE RULE OF LAW, by former Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki, relies mainly on the Daawa party, of which Maliki is the head. Popular among numerous officials hired under his mandates, he is burdened by the fact that the IS seized a third of the country when he was in power.

– MARCH FOR THE REFORMS, an unprecedented alliance between the Shia leader Moqtada Sadr and the communists. It has six lay formations in its majority, including the Iraqi Communist Party (PCI) and Istiqama, a party of technocrats.

– The SUNITAS are presented in several lists, the main one being the “National Alliance”, led by the Shiite vice president Iyad Allawi, although he is presented as a layman, and the Sunni president of Parliament, Salim Al Juburi. Shattered by the advance of the IS, the Sunnis could be the big losers of the elections.

– THE KURDOS are divided to share the 46 seats of the autonomous region, two of which are reserved for Christians. In addition to the two historical formations, the Democratic Party of Kurdistan (PDK, of the Barzani clan) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (UPK, of the Talabani clan), the Kurdish opposition will be represented by the Jamaa Islamiya, the newly created movement “New generation “and Goran (” the change “, in Kurdish).

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