New Electoral Law to Sideline Small Opposition Parties

“The larger blocs insisted on achieving their goals without considering the demands of the people, as expressed at Friday’s protests,” Diaa al-Asadi, a leading member of the Sadrist movement, told NIQASH. “That divisor – 1.7 – will only serve the big parties and it will be a challenge to smaller blocs and smaller parties.”

In an official statement, the Virtue party, which has only six seats in Parliament at the moment, said the new legislation will mean that many votes for smaller parties will simply be wasted.

Forming a new Iraqi government and new provincial councils is going to be more difficult as a result of all this, argues Ziad Ahmad, a local political analyst. In the past forming coalitions and deciding who to appoint and where, had caused long delays, Ahmad says. “This is going to take an even longer time and there will be many tiresome negotiations.”

And there are two other issues that are going to cause headaches when it comes to April 2018.

The number of constituencies remains up for debate too. Currently the country has 18 constituencies but some say there should be more, to more accurately reflect how many Iraqis live in certain areas. The requirement to get a higher number of votes in some areas than others has seen skewed results, they say – that is, MPs in some areas may only have had a few votes and been voted in, whereas in others, some politicians received thousands of votes yet still were not elected.

Additionally the northern province of Kirkuk remains a major problem. Kirkuk is a disputed territory – that is, the Iraqi Kurdish say it should belong to their semi-autonomous northern region whereas the Iraqis believe it belongs to Iraq proper. Kirkuk is home to a mixture of ethnicities and sects, which makes it hard to discern where the loyalties of the province as a whole lie. There are also major security issues that make it difficult to hold elections in the province.

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