Politics & Economics

The Protests In Iraq Have Achieved A Crucial Demand

Iraq

The protests in Iraq have led to changes in the electoral law - one of the key demands of the protests - which is aimed at reducing the monopoly of mainstream political parties.

Following an announcement by the Presidency in Iraq on 20 October that a new draft of the election would be presented in the coming weeks, the Presidency declared this week that it has proposed concrete amendments to the electoral law in the country in order to loosen to grip on power of the mainstream political parties.

The Presidency released a 33-page document detailing the proposed changes to the electoral law. The proposed amendments include the following:

  • A reduction in the number of MPs in Parliament from 329 to 213 seats
  • A reduction in the age of nomination to 25
  • A reduction in the electoral precinct from province to district
  • The formation of an independent commission from the judiciary and specialized sectoral bodies away from partisan quotas
  • The adoption of the highest winner system among candidates at the level of the electoral district and the abolition of existing laws and proportional representation

In addition to these amendments to the electoral law, an international group of constitutional experts is expecting to assist the Iraqi Government in reforming the current Iraqi Constitution. A new constitutional draft is expected to be presented within the next four months.

These changes have been proposed followed days of continuous protesting in Baghdad and parts of southern Iraq. Protesters have been eager to see serious reforms from the government. It is as of yet unclear whether these changes will appease the protesters, or whether they will even be accepted by the Iraqi Parliament, where the amendments may face opposition from political parties seeking to maintain their representation in Government. Reforms have nevertheless been backed by prominent figures, such as Shia cleric Ayatollah, Ali al-Sistani.

The second round of protests that were launched on 25 October following an interval during Arbaeen have seen frequent violence. The death toll from the protests has exceeded 300, with thousands of people also being injured in clashes with the security forces.