Friday, February 20, 2009

Provincial Seat Allocation - Further Cause for Discontent

The official results are out for Iraq's provincial elections, providing much tinder for discontent with the political system. The big winners percentage-wise are even bigger winners in the allocation of seats in the councils. This is good news for al-Maliki's State of Law list, who saw its control of provincial councils boosted, as well as ISCI and the Sadrists, but is a major blow to all of the Iraqis who spent their votes on the numerous individual and small party candidates that ran in opposition to the politics of the main established parties. Due to the threshold required to actually gain a seat, votes split among the many alternative candidates go unrepresented. They are essentially discounted, with the resulting math giving the main parties an even bigger allocation of seats than their vote percentage would indicate. Reidar Visser, a research fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs offers a thorough analysis of the results.

This will do little to steel confidence and interest in the political system, especially for those fed up with what they see as the corruption and self-interest of the established parties that continue to benefit from the system they have created. Unless the opposition realizes the need to create a strong and unified alternative, more of the same can be expected in the national elections later this year.

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