Sadik Gulec / Shutterstock

Single title

The Shock of the 2021 Elections

by Hashim Al-Rikabi

The Impact and Desirability of the New Electoral System in Iraq

About three months after the Iraqi parliamentary election of October 10,2021, no new government has been formed yet. Previous elections show that it takes time until the three presidencies – the speaker of parliament, the president and the prime minister – are decided upon, as only then, a new cabinet can be formed. While Iraq’s political factionsare negotiating possible constellations Hamzeh Hadad, Marsin Alshamary and Hashim al-Rikabi address the impact the new electoral system had on the vote, the role of independent candidates and new political parties, and what it takes to form the next government. In part three of the publication series Hashim al-Rikabi conducts a data-driven analysis to showcase the effect of the new electoral law.

The 2020 electoral system explains all puzzles of the 2021 election results in Iraq, in terms of the rise and demise of certain political forces. It helps strengthening the aspect of accountability, maintaining representation, and eventually stabilize the political landscape. However, the conduct of elections deepened political polarization due to claims of high scale fraud and votes’ manipulations.

Iraq’s electoral system evolved gradually over time, but the 2021 elections saw a fundamental change towards a majoritarian system based on smaller electoral districts, individual candidacy, electronic counting of the ballot papers and highest votes as a seat allocation mechanism, as legislated in the new Electoral Law No. 9 of 2020. In order to assess the impact of the new electoral system, a data-driven analysis of election results was conducted to measure its numeric impact as well as assessing the desirability of the new system based on the criteria of representation, accountability, and political stability.


David Labude

David Labude

Research Associate +961 1 388 061/62 +961 1 388 064