With the approach of every Iraqi election season, the country plunges into widespread controversy about the election law and about how it should be amended. The threats between the various political blocs escalate, with some hinting that they will boycott the election. These debates have typically ended by either returning to the previous law or by a political settlement that guarantees the interests of all the parties. That scene happened during the past few weeks as Iraqi political forces tried to amend the law that would govern the 2014 parliamentary elections because there was not a fixed electoral law in Iraq, allowing parliament the right to change the law each electoral season or to amend earlier laws. President of the Iraqi Kurdistan region Massoud Barzani said that the Kurdish parties might boycott the elections if their suggestions about the law were ignored. The Kurds have proposed to distribute the “compensatory seats” according to the voters’ proportions and to make Iraq a single voting district. The Kurds believe this will give them additional seats because of the increase in percentage of votes in Kurdish governorates compared to Arab ones.
The State of Law coalition, led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, proposed using the 2010 law again because it does not guarantee the distribution of votes among the greatest winners, which the bloc benefited from in the 2010 elections when it received 89 seats of the 325 total in parliament.
Other blocs, such as the political current of Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr, insist on using the provincial election law that was used for the provincial elections in April, which used the so-called Saint Lego method for calculating votes. These blocs feel that it serves the smaller forces, as proven by the elections last April when the Sadr movement, the Supreme Council and local forces successfully securing control of local governments, most significantly in Baghdad and Basra from the State of Law Coalition.
Other suggested amendments include granting parties the right to replace their deputies if they disobey party decisions. There’s also a debate about the minimum votes an electoral list needs to compete for the compensatory seats.