Iraq adopts new electoral law heavily criticised by opposition

People hold a sit-down protest against the new election law outside the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, March 25, 2023. AP - Hadi Mizban

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2 min

After weeks of opposition and several postponements, the vote on the last amendments to the new electoral law took place on the night of 26 to 27 March in the Iraqi Parliament, in an electric atmosphere, and while demonstrations opposing it were held in several provinces of the country.


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With our correspondent in Baghdad, Marie-Charlotte Roupie

It was in a very tense atmosphere that the parliamentary session opened. Independent elected representatives once again protested virulently against the holding of the vote. Videos they relayed on social networks show them being evacuated by security agents before the vote on the last amendments takes place, endorsing the new electoral law.

The law "has been adopted," a statement from the Assembly laconically announced, without detailing the vote count. The unicameral parliament is dominated by the Coordination Framework, an alliance of pro-Iran Shiite parties from which Prime Minister Mohamed Chia al-Sudani emerges.

Disadvantage small parties

According to the new text, the constituencies will be larger for the next parliamentary and regional elections. The 83 existing electoral districts will be abolished. Instead, each of the 18 provinces will constitute a riding.

As for the rules for the distribution of seats, they will now be based on a new calculation that could disadvantage independent candidates and recently founded parties. From now on, "minor candidates will have no hope of gaining representation in parliament," said Alaa al-Rikabi, an independent MP.


Despite the vote of the law, the opposition movement to this reform which has already lasted for several weeks does not intend to stop there. Some parliamentarians hostile to the new law intend to appeal to the Supreme Court to try to invalidate the parliamentary session, arguing that the intervention of security to evacuate elected officials was not constitutional.

Outside, demonstrations were organized in several provinces of the country overnight. And in Baghdad, protesters intend to organize a new demonstration this Monday, March 27 in the evening on the emblematic Tahrir Square.

► Read also: Iraq: demonstration against the new electoral law near Parliament

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  • Iraq
  • Mohamed Chia al-Soudani