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How Iraq's electoral system works
Al Jazeera takes a look at the 2010 Iraqi election process.
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2010 09:55 GMT
Female MPs must comprise 25 per cent of the 325 seats in the Iraqi parliament [EPA]  

Iraq's general elections, held on March 7, have been heralded as a landmark for the country's emerging democracy, but the system itself is extremely complicated.

Al Jazeera takes a look at the 2010 Iraqi election process.

How many seats are there in the Iraqi parliament?

According to the electoral law of 2005, as amended in 2009, the seats of the Iraqi parliament have been increased from 275 to 325 seats.

How can a candidate win a seat in the Iraqi parliament?

To win a seat in parliament the candidate or list should win the number of valid votes at least equal to the electoral divider.

For example, in a governorate of 10 seats and 10,000 valid votes, a candidate or a list must earn 1,000 votes to get a seat.

How many seats are needed to form a government?

A party would need 163 seats to form a government, but the proportional representation system makes it unlikely that any single party would achieve that figure and a period of coalition building is expected.

How is the 2010 election different from that of 2005?

The main difference is that the 2005 election was based on a closed list system which meant the voter knew the parties included in the list but not the individual candidates.

In the 2010 election the open list system means voters know the names and identities of candidates in the list they are voting for.

The open list system allows the voter to express their preference for a candidate within that list. The number of such individual votes will determine which candidates will win a seat.

Is there a quota for female candidates?

Yes. Female representatives must comprise 25 per cent of the 325 seats in the Iraqi parliament - a total of 82 seats.

How are seats distributed?

Out of the total 325 seats, 310  are distributed over Iraq's 18 governorates, according to each one's population. 

Eight seats are reserved for minorities and the remaining seven seats are "compensatory seats".

What is a compensatory seat?

Compensatory seats are awarded to winning lists in proportion to the governorate seats they won in the country as a whole.

A winning list's compensatory seats are awarded to the candidates who did not win a seat, but who received the list's highest share of individual votes when compared to candidates running for that list in other governorates.

How many Iraqis were eligible to vote in 2010?

Around 18.9 million domestic voters and 97,000 expatriates were registered.

How many voting stations were there for expatriates?

Iraqi expatriates were able to cast their votes in 16 countries around the world: Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Germany, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Netherlands, Sweden, Syria, Turkey, the UAE, the UK and the US.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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