CBC News Online | April 28, 2006
Timeline of the election
Who is being elected?
- Nov. 1, 2004: Start of registration of candidates and voters.
- Nov. 22, 2004: Deadline for registering as a candidate, either within a party or as an individual.
- Nov. 23, 2004: Deadline for registering on voter lists in the provinces.
- Nov. 30, 2004: Deadline for registering on voter lists in Baghdad.
- Dec. 15, 2004: Beginning of the election campaign.
- Jan. 17, 2005: Compilation of the voters list in Canada begins.
- Jan. 30, 2005: Elections for an interim government.
- Dec. 15, 2005: Elections for a full-term government.
- Jan. 20, 2006: Election results released. Out of 275 seats, the Shia party wins 128.
- April 22, 2006: Jawad al-Maliki is named prime minister-designate.
Iraqis voted to elect 275 members of a national assembly, which will oversee a new government to take over from the interim government the U.S. occupation authority appointed in June 2004.
However, the main task of the new assembly will be to create and approve a new constitution. The constitution is expected to require this assembly to dissolve by the end of 2005. A new elected parliament will take its place.
Voters also chose members of 18 provincial assemblies and of the autonomous Kurdish parliament in the north of the country.
Who could vote?
All Iraqis 18 years of age or older on Jan. 1, 2005, were allowed to vote, an estimated 12 million people. Because the election was on such a tight schedule, a proper census of the country's estimated 26 million people could not be conducted.
Instead, the electoral roll was based on lists the Saddam Hussein regime used for the UN "Oil for Food" program. Iraqis holding a valid ration card from this program were eligible to vote.
As well, Iraqi citizens in 14 countries were allowed to vote in ballots authorized by Iraqi election officials, including an estimated 25,000 eligible voters in Canada.
The Canadian voters list was compiled from Jan. 17-25 at five voting stations across the country: three in Toronto and one each in Ottawa and Calgary. Voters had to register in person and return to the station for the vote between Jan. 28 and 30.
Who was running?
More than 120 parties were approved to run candidates for the national assembly. Each party presented a list of candidates with at least 12 names and no more than 275. One-third of the candidates on the list had to be women.
Some of the parties put up combined lists representing a coalition of several parties.
Some of the parties represented:
Smaller parties, such as the Iraqi Communist Party, which opposed the U.S.-led invasion, may also grab some seats in the election.
- Islamic al-Dawa (Islamic fundamentalists).
- Iraqi National Congress (exile group led by Ahmed Chalabi).
- Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Shia).
- Kurdish Democratic Party.
- Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.
The parties reflect the religious and ethnic divides in the country. Shia Muslims, representing about 60 per cent of the population, are expected to vote for Shia parties, both religious and secular. Kurds will likely support one of the two established Kurdish parties.
Sunni Muslim participation in the election is a concern, though. Some of the Sunni parties, including the influential Association of Muslim Scholars, called for a boycott of the vote. A lack of Sunni participation in the election could have repercussions on the stability and legitimacy of the assembly.
Individuals also ran in the election. In mid-November, about 200 individuals had applied to run.
Former senior Baathists in the Saddam regime were barred from running as individuals or as a member of a party. Current members of the armed forces or any armed militias were also barred from running.
How did the vote work?
The vote was a single national ballot, with no constituencies or regional representation. For the most part, voters cast a single vote for a list of candidates from a party or coalition of parties.
Seats in the assembly will be allocated by proportional representation, that is, if a party receives 20 per cent of the vote, it will receive 20 per cent of the seats in the assembly. The party's seats will be filled from its candidates list, starting from the top and counting down until the seats are filled.