Nearly 70 political parties and over 6,000 candidates compete in Iraq’s provincial elections

IRBIL, IRAQ - APRIL 30: Electronic devices, used for the Iraqi parliamentary elections, shut down after voting process finishes in 18 cities of Iraq. Polling clerks count the votes in Irbil, Iraq, on April 30, 2014. (Photo by Emrah Yorulmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) has announced that nearly 70 political parties and alliances and over 6,000 candidates will participate in the upcoming provincial council elections scheduled for next month.

Nibras Abu Souda, a member of the IHEC media team, told Shafaq News Agency that the competition will involve 29 political parties, 39 political alliances, and 66 individual candidates, including minority candidates. Unlike the 2021 elections, which were based on individual nominations, these elections will use an open list system.

Iraq is scheduled to hold provincial elections on November 6, 2023. The polls will be the first for provincial councils in 13 years after they were dissolved amid anti-government protests in 2019.

The elections will be held in 15 of 18 Iraqi provinces, excluding the three provinces in the autonomous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq.

The elections are a critical test for the Iraqi government and a potential turning point in the country’s political climate. They will also be the first elections under a new electoral law passed in 2020.

The new electoral law reintroduces the Sainte-Laguë method of proportional representation, which is expected to benefit smaller political parties and independent candidates. The law also reduces the number of seats in provincial councils and requires that at least 25% of candidates be women.

Some major political parties have already announced their intention to participate in the elections, including the Sadrist Movement, the State of Law Coalition, and the Kurdistan Democratic Party.

However, there are some concerns about the security and fairness of the elections. Some political groups have accused the government of trying to manipulate the electoral process, and there is a risk of violence on election day.

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