Monday, March 8, 2010

Iraqi Election Turnout Report

Though it hasn't received the attention it deserved, Iraqis took to the streets to vote in their first national election since 2005.

A few words about how it operates. There are 325 seats in the Iraqi Council of Representatives. The COR is the unicameral legislative body of the Republic of Iraq. 310 seats were at stake in this election with the other 15 being given to minorities (like Christians) and the dominant political parties based off of results.

I owe the following seat breakdown to the Institute for the Study of War, this site is the academic gold standard for higher level breakdowns of the Long War. They produced a pre-election write-up that is worth reading as well.

Al Anbar -- 14 Seats (Sunni)
Babil -- 16 Seats (Shi'a)
Baghdad -- 68 Seats (Mixed)
Basra -- 24 Seats (Shi'a)
Dahuk -- 10 Seats (Kurd)
Dhi Qar -- 18 Seats (Shi'a)
Diyala -- 13 Seats (Mixed)
Irbil -- 14 Seats (Kurd)
Karbala -- 10 Seats (Shi'a)
Kirkuk -- 12 Seats (Mixed)
Maysan -- 10 Seats (Shi'a)
Muthanna -- 7 Seats (Shi'a)
Ninewah -- 31 Seats (Sunni/Kurd)
Qadisiyah -- 11 Seats (Shi'a)
Salah ah Din -- 12 Seats (Sunni)
Sulaymaniyah -- 17 Seats (Kurd)
Wasit -- 11 Seats (Shi'a)
Compensatory and Minority Seats -- 15 Seats

I plan to make some comments later in the week when the initial results are published, but for now, I want to provide some analysis of the provincial turnout.

I owe these numbers to Michael Rubin over at National Review Online who pulled them from this Arabic website.

Duhok- 80%
Erbil - 76%
Sulaymania - 73%
Kirkuk - 73%
Salah Al Deen - 73%
Ninewa (Mosul)- 66%
Babil - 63%
IRAQ - 62.4%
Diyala - 62%
Karbala - 62%
Diwaniya - 62%
Al Anbar - 61%
Najaf - 61%
Al Muthanna - 61%
Dhi Qar - 60%
Wasit - 60%
Basra - 57%
Baghdad - 53%
Maysan - 50%

I agree that the Duhok results are suspicious and there is a chance that the KDP (Kurdish Democratic Party) and PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) engaged in some ballot stuffing.

What stands out is the low turnout in Maysan, Basra, Wasit and Dhi Qar Provinces. These four provinces all have turnout of 60% or below. These are predominately Shi'a provinces that in the past were dominated by the Islamic Supreme Council in Iraq (ISCI, formerly SCIRI). ISCI and its Badr and Sadrist allies united under the Iraqi National Alliance. This is the most Iranian friendly and the most sectarian of the political lists. Low turnouts in the Shi'a south likely indicate that like the 2009 provincial election, the extreme Shi'a religious parties fared poorly.

I really don't know what to make about the low turnout in Baghdad. I read anecdotal evidence of good turnout in Adamiyah, a Sunni stronghold in East Baghdad. Low turnout in Baghdad likely will hurt Maliki's State of Law list, but could also impact Ayad Allawi's Iraqi List. I think despite the turnout, Maliki will win Baghdad and Allawi will finish a very close second.

The Sunni provinces (with the exception of Al Anbar - though Al Anbar is so monolithic, the Sunni representation from the province will not be negatively impacted), Diyala, Salah ah Din, Ninewa and Kirkuk had high turnouts. This bodes well principally for Ayad Allawi's list as the Sunnis have more willingly embraced his secular list.

I think Maliki's list will finish first in the election, but Ayad Allawi's list will finish a close second. This will make for some entertaining jockeying as the two lists attempt to be the first to form a governing coalition. This will require doing business with either the INA, the Kurds, or the Sunni List. Stay Tuned.

1 comment:

James H said...

Wow you are right that is a GREAT site