Politics of Iraq: Wikis


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The politics of Iraq takes place in a framework of a more or less federal parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Iraq is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Council of Representatives. This includes the social relations involving authority or power in Iraq. Before the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the Ba'ath Party officially ruled. The occupation yielded to an transitional administrative law, which was replaced by a permanent constitution following approval in a referendum held on October 15, 2005.

A permanent 275-member Council of Representatives was elected in a general election in December 2005, initiating the formation of a new government.

The Prime Minister of Iraq is Nouri al-Maliki, who holds most of the executive authority and appoints the cabinet. The current President of Iraq is Jalal Talabani, who serves largely as a figurehead, with few powers. The vice presidents are Tariq al-Hashimi and Adel Abdul Mehdi, deputy leader of SCIRI, the largest party in the Iraqi National Assembly.



Iraq was occupied by foreign troops beginning with the 2003 invasion of Iraq, with military forces coming primarily from the United States. Most foreign militaries operate under the umbrella of the Multinational force in Iraq (the MNF–I), authorized under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1790 until December 31, 2008. On January 1, 2009 the U.S.–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement entered into force.



Federal government

The federal government of Iraq is defined under the current Constitution as an Islamic,[1] democratic, federal parliamentary republic.[2] The federal government is composed of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, as well as numerous independent commissions.

Legislative branch

The legislative branch is composed of the Council of Representatives and a Federation Council.[3] As of 2009, the Federation Council had not yet come into existence.

Executive branch

The executive branch is composed of the President / Presidency Council and the Council of Ministers.[4]

Judicial branch

The federal judiciary is composed of the Higher Judicial Council, the Supreme Court, the Court of Cassation, the Public Prosecution Department, the Judiciary Oversight Commission, and other federal courts that are regulated by law.[5] One such court is the Central Criminal Court.

Independent commissions and institutions

The High Commission for Human Rights, the Independent High Electoral Commission, and the Commission on Integrity are independent commissions subject to monitoring by the Council of Representatives.[6] The Central Bank of Iraq, the Board of Supreme Audit, the Communications and Media Commission, and the Endowment Commission are financially and administratively independent institutions.[7] The Foundation of Martyrs is attached to the Council of Ministers.[8] The Federal Public Service Council regulates the affairs of the federal public service, including appointment and promotion.[9]

Local government

The basic subdivisions of the country are the autonomous regions and the governates. The last local elections for the governates were held in the 2009 Iraqi governorate elections on 31 January 2009.


Iraqi Governates and Districts

Iraq is divided into 18 governorates (or muhafazah):

  1. Baghdād (بغداد)
  2. Salāh ad-Dīn (صلاح الدين)
  3. Diyālā (ديالى)
  4. Wāsit (واسط)
  5. Maysān (ميسان)
  6. Al-Basrah (البصرة)
  7. Dhī Qār (ذي قار)
  8. Al-Muthannā (المثنى)
  9. Al-Qādisiyyah (القادسية)
  1. Bābil (بابل)
  2. Al-Karbalā' (كربلاء)
  3. An-Najaf (النجف)
  4. Al-Anbar (الأنبار)
  5. Nīnawā (نينوى)
  6. Dahūk (دهوك)
  7. Arbīl (أربيل)
  8. Kirkuk (or At-Ta'mim) (التاميم)
  9. As-Sulaymāniyyah (السليمانية)

The governorates are further divided into districts (or qadhas). As of 1 September 2008, eleven of the eighteen governorates are under direct Iraqi control: Al-Muthannā,[10] Dhī Qār,[11] An-Najaf,[12] Maysān,[13][14] Arbīl, As-Sulaymāniyyah, Dahūk, Al-Karbalā', Al-Basrah, Al-Qādisiyyah and Al-Anbar. Seven governorates are controlled by multi-national coalition forces: Baghdād, Salāh ad-Dīn, Diyālā, Wāsit, Bābil, Nīnawā, and Kirkuk (or At-Ta'mim).

Autonomous regions

The constitution requires that the Council of Representatives enact a law which provides the procedures for forming a new region 6 months from the start of its first session.[15] A law was passed 11 October 2006 by a unanimous vote with only 138 of 275 representatives present, with the remaining representatives boycotting the vote.[16][17] Legislators from the Iraqi Accord Front, Sadrist Movement and Islamic Virtue Party all opposed the bill.[18]

Under the law, a region can be created out of one or more existing governorates or two or more existing regions, and a governorate can also join an existing region to create a new region. A new region can be proposed by one third or more of the council members in each affected governorate plus 500 voters or by one tenth or more voters in each affected governorate. A referendum must then be held within three months, which requires a simple majority in favour to pass. In the event of competing proposals, the multiple proposals are put to a ballot and the proposal with the most supporters is put to the referendum. In the event of an affirmative referendum a Transitional Legislative Assembly is elected for one year, which has the task of writing a constitution for the Region, which is then put to a referendum requiring a simple majority to pass. The President, Prime Minister and Ministers of the region are elected by simple majority, in contrast to the Iraqi Council of Representatives which requires two thirds support.[17]

Political parties and elections

Iraqi Transitional National Assembly Election, January 2005

On January 30, 2005, the Iraqi people chose representatives for the newly-formed and transitional 275-member Iraqi Transitional National Assembly in legislative elections nationwide. Following the ratification of the constitution of Iraq on October 15, 2005, a general election was called for 15 December to elect a full 4 year term 275-member Council of Representatives of Iraq.

The Transitional National Assembly (Majlis al-Watani), had 275 seats, the same number as the Council of Representatives of Iraq, but its members were elected for a mandate of no more that a year. No Ba'ath candidates were allowed to run.

In November 2003, the US-managed Coalition Provisional Authority had announced plans to turn over sovereignty to an Iraqi Interim Government by mid-2004. The actual transfer of sovereignty occurred on 28 June 2004. The interim president installed was Sheikh Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer, and the interim prime minister was Iyad Allawi, a man who had been a CIA asset according to former U.S. intelligence officials (New York Times, June 9, 2004).

The election was seen by some as a victory for democracy in the Middle East, but that opinion is not shared by all, especially as most of the Arab Sunnis boycotted the vote. Seymour Hersh has reported that there was an effort by the U.S. government to shift funds and other resources to Allawi and that there may have been similar under-the-table dealings by other parties. Although he did not get the most seats in the Transitional Assembly, Allawi's delegation jumped from a projected 3-4% of the vote to 14% of the vote, giving him power in the writing of the Constitution.

The Iraqi Transitional Assembly would:

  • Serve as Iraq's national legislature. It has named a Presidency Council, consisting of a President and two Vice Presidents. (By unanimous agreement, the Presidency Council will appoint a Prime Minister and, on his recommendation, cabinet ministers.)
  • Draft Iraq's new constitution. This constitution was presented to the Iraqi people for their approval in a national referendum in October 2005. Under the new constitution, Iraq would elect a permanent government in December 2005 as new legislative elections were held for the Council of Representatives of Iraq.

Under the Transitional Administrative Law, signed March 2004, the country's executive branch was led by a three-person presidential council. The election system for the council effectively ensures that all three of Iraq's major ethnic / religious groups are represented. The constitution also includes basic freedoms like freedom of religion, speech, and assembly, and is perceived by some to be more progressive than the U.S. Constitution.[1] Controversially, however, it states that all laws that were in effect on the transfer date cannot be repealed. Furthermore, since the coalition forces are currently working to maintain order and create a stable society under the United Nations, coalition troops can remain in effective control of the country despite the transfer of sovereignty. Since Iraqi forces were then considered not fully trained and equipped to police and secure their country, it was expected that coalition troops will remain until Iraqi forces no longer required their support.

On 5 April 2005, the Iraqi Transitional National Assembly appointed Jalal Talabani, a prominent Kurdish leader, President. It also appointed Adel Abdul Mehdi, a Shiite Arab, and Ghazi al-Yawar, the former Interim President and a Sunni Arab, as Vice Presidents. Ibrahim al-Jaafari a Shiite, whose United Iraq Alliance Party won the largest share of the vote, was appointed the new Prime Minister of Iraq. Most power was vested in him. The new government was faced with two major tasks. The first was to attempt to rein in a violent insurgency, which had blighted the country in recent months, killing many Iraqi civilians and officials as well as a number of U.S. troops. (As of mid-2005, approximately 135,000 American troops remained in Iraq with 2,214 U.S. soldiers killed.) The second major task was to re-engage in the writing of a new Iraqi constitution, as outlined above, to replace the Transitional Administrative Law of 2004.

After the legislative elections held in December 2005, where 76,4% of registered voters participated, the Iraqi government is considered by 44 international governments to be a legitimate government. According to the U.S. administration, the judiciary in Iraq operates under the primacy of rule of law, so those convicted of war crimes from the former regime of Saddam Hussein will get a open trial, in which their rights will be subjected to due process and be protected by the scrutiny of a free press, the requirements of modern court proceedings. There has however been considerable criticism of criminal justice system presently operating in Iraq.

Iraqi Council of Representatives Election, December 2005

December 2005 election results by plurality (not proportional representation, as was used).
e • d Summary of the 15 December 2005 Council of Representatives of Iraq election results
Alliances and parties Votes % Seats +/–
United Iraqi Alliance 5,021,137 41.2 128 –12
Democratic Patriotic Alliance of Kurdistan 2,642,172 21.7 53 –22
Iraqi Accord Front 1,840,216 15.1 44 +44
Iraqi National List 977,325 8.0 25 –15
Iraqi National Dialogue Front 499,963 4.1 11 +11
Kurdistan Islamic Union1 157,688 1.3 5 +5
The Upholders of the Message (Al-Risaliyun) 145,028 1.2 2 +2
Reconciliation and Liberation Bloc 129,847 1.1 3 +2
Turkmen Front 87,993 0.7 1 –2
Rafidain List 47,263 0.4 1 ±0
Mithal al-Alusi List 32,245 0.3 1 +1
Yazidi Movement for Reform and Progress 21,908 0.2 1 +1
National Independent Cadres and Elites   0 –3
Islamic Action Organization In Iraq - Central Command   0 –2
National Democratic Alliance   0 –1
Total (turnout 79.6 %) 12,396,631   275

1The KIU contested the previous election as part of the main Kurdish alliance.

See also


  1. ^ Constitution of Iraq, Section 1, Article 2
  2. ^ Constitution of Iraq, Section 1, Article 1]
  3. ^ Constitution of Iraq, Section 3, Chapter 1, Article 48.
  4. ^ Constitution of Iraq, Section 3, Chapter 2, Article 63
  5. ^ Constitution of Iraq, Section 3, Chapter 3, Article 89
  6. ^ Constitution of Iraq, Section 3, Chapter 4, Article 102
  7. ^ Constitution of Iraq, Section 3, Chapter 4, Article 103
  8. ^ Constitution of Iraq, Section 3, Chapter 4, Article 104
  9. ^ Constitution of Iraq, Section 3, Chapter 4, Article 107
  10. ^ Australian Department of Defence (2006-07-13). "Provincial Iraqi Control - Al Muthanna" (in Australian English). Press release. http://www.minister.defence.gov.au/NelsonMintpl.cfm?CurrentId=5805. Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  11. ^ "Power handover in Iraqi province". BBC News. 2006-09-21. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5366270.stm. Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  12. ^ U.S. Department of Defense (2006-12-20). "Iraq Officials Assume Control in An Najaf". Press release. http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=2478. Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  13. ^ "Iraqi Troops to Take Control of Maysan Province Next". VOA News. 2006-06-20. http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2006-06/2006-06-20-voa35.cfm. Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  14. ^ "Iraqi forces take control of Maysaan Province". U.K. Ministry of Defence. 2007-04-07. http://www.mod.uk/defenceinternet/defencenews/militaryoperations/iraqiforcestakecontrolofmaysaanprovincevideo.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  15. ^ Constitution of Iraq, Article 114
  16. ^ Muir, Jim (2006-10-11), Iraq passes regional autonomy law, Baghdad: BBC News, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6041916.stm, retrieved 2008-11-09 
  17. ^ a b Draft of the Law on the Operational Procedures for the Creation of Regions, http://www.niqash.org/intern/getBin.php?id=367, retrieved 2008-11-09 
  18. ^ "Iraqi parliament approves federal law". Reuters. 2006-10-11. http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/CrisesArticle.aspx?storyId=IBO145418&WTmodLoc=World-R5-Alertnet-4. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 

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