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Election Law Text

Klaas Glenewinkel
After weeks of wrangling, the Iraqi parliament passed a new election law, amending law 16 of 2005, on November 8 2009, paving the way for national parliamentary elections to be held in January 2010. One hundred and…
9.11.2009  |  Baghdad

The following is an unofficial translation of the new law:


On behalf of the people,

The Presidential Council,

Based on what the Council of Representatives has approved and has been endorsed by the Presidential Council, and

Based on the provisions of item (I) of Article 61, items (I, II, III and IV) of Article (49) and paragraph (a) and item V of Article 138 of the Constitution,

The following law has been issued:

Law No. ( ) of the year 2009

An Act to amend the election law No. 16 of 2005

Article I:

The provisions of Article 15 of the Act shall be cancelled and replaced by the following:

The House of Representatives consists of a number of seats equal to one seat per one hundred thousand people and according to the latest statistics provided by the Ministry of Commerce. Compensatory seats are among these seats and reach up to 5%. The following components shall be granted a quota from these compensatory seats on the condition that this quota does not change the percentage of these components in case they participate in the national lists, as follows:

1. The Christian component: 5 seats to be distributed between Baghdad, Ninawa, Kirkuk, Dahuk and Erbil.

2. The Yazidi component: 1 seat in Ninawa

3. The Sabean-Mandaean component: 1 seat in Baghdad province.

4. The Shabak: 1 seat in Ninawa province.

Article II:

Each province, according to its official administrative borders, constitutes one electoral district with a number of seats allocated proportional to the number of its population, as per the latest approved statistics based on the ration card.

Article III:

Articles 9, 10, 11 and 16 shall be cancelled and replaced with the following:

First: Nomination shall be made according to the open-list system. Number of candidates shall not be less than three and not more than double the number of seats allocated to the electoral district. The voter shall have the right to vote for the list or for one of the candidates listed in the list. Individuals may nominate themselves for the elections.

Second: The valid votes obtained by the list in the electoral district shall be added and divided by the electoral denominator to determine the number of seats allocated to the list.

Third: The seats shall be distributed by rearranging the sequence of candidates based on the number of votes obtained by each of them. The first winner is the one who gets the highest votes and the same applies to the rest of the candidates, on the condition that women’s percentage should not be less than the a quarter of winners. In the case of a single list vote tie, candidates shall be chosen by lot.

Fourth: Vacant seats shall be given to winning lists which have won a number of seats according to the votes that each has won.

Article IV:

Special voting which includes:

Firstly, military employees, members of the Ministries of Defence and Interior and all other security institutions. These shall vote according to special procedures established by the Independent Electoral Higher Commission (IHEC) based on official lists containing the names and the departments. The different departments shall commit to submit theses lists in a period of not less than 60 days before elections. According to these lists, the security and military employees’ names shall be deleted from the voters’ register. If these lists are not submitted according to the above procedures, they can vote in the general elections like other citizens according to the voters’ register.

Secondly, prisoners and detainees shall vote according to procedures established by IHEC upon lists submitted by the ministries of justice and interior within a period not less than 30 days before elections.

Thirdly, patients in hospitals and other clinics shall vote according to lists submitted by the concerned bodies before voting according to procedures established by the IHEC.

Fourthly, immigrants; a) the displaced: are Iraqis who were forced to leave their permanent place of residency and live in another place inside Iraq after 9/4/2003 regardless of the reason. Those will vote according to the latest official statistics to be submitted to IHEC by the ministry of displacement and migration and the ministry of trade. According to these lists, the displaced persons shall have the right to vote for the electoral district which they were forced to leave on the condition that these persons did not transfer their ration card to the district where they are currently residing.

Fifth: IHEC shall have the power to establish voting procedures for Iraqis living outside Iraq.

Article V:

I. The provisions of articles contained in Chapter VI, VII of the Act No. 36 of 2008 shall be applicable on the election of the House of Representatives members.

II. The candidate shall have the right to ask the Commission’s centre in the province to provide him with the number of votes he has obtained.

III. A parliament member shall have the right to access information relating to the electoral process, counting and sorting sheets in the various electoral districts.

Article VI:

First: elections shall take place, on time, in the province of Kirkuk and in other provinces where there are doubts regarding the records of voters.

Second: Provinces with dubious records are those with annual population increases higher than 5%. At least 50 MPs should submit a request questioning records and the request should be approved by the parliament by simple majority.

Third: The parliament shall form a committee from among its members for Kirkuk, and for any other province where there are doubts about the records. The committee shall be composed of the provinces’ components, and representatives of the ministries of planning, interior and commerce and IHEC. The committee should be assisted by the UN and shall be tasked to review and check records and numbers in the election register according to official data and standards mentioned in the concluding provisions and article 2 of this law to correct the voting register. The committee shall complete its work within one year.

Fourth: The results of Kirkuk or any other province elections with dubious records shall not be taken as a base for any future or previous electoral process or a precedent for any political or administrative status.


Article VII:

The following criteria shall be used as the basis for the implementation of the provisions contained in Article VI.

First: The difference in the numbers of registered voters in 2004 record before updating it and that of 2010 shall be determined.

Second: The examination of the difference (as in First) and in numbers as of 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, should focus on the following:

1. Population increase (births, deaths, change of people’s records from one province to the other) for the period of 2004-2009.

2. The names of the displaced people who returned according to official records,

3. Other demographic changes during this period.

4. Deportations according to official records.

Third: The examination process shall determine the legitimacy of records, and illegitimate cases. It shall determine the differences in numbers and their impact on the number of seats.

Fourth: The number of MPs to represent Kirkuk province or areas with dubious records shall be determined by the population ration to be adopted by the council after deleting the number of seats which resulted from violations.

Fifth: The correct numbers in those provinces shall be taken into consideration. Others will be registered on the national quota.

Article VIII:

First: Any other text inconsistent with the provisions of this law shall be cancelled.

Second: This law shall enter into force as of the date of endorsing it and publishing it in the official gazette.

Justifying Reasons:

This law has been promulgated for the purpose of holding free, democratic and fair elections in Iraq, and in order to raise the level of elections to be in line with international standards and to meet people’s demands.

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