De-Ba’athification Commission Disqualifications: Critical Vote Thresholds for the Iraqiyyah List

by James Danly and Marisa Cochrane Sullivan

April 28, 2010

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While an appeals process is underway and the move is by no means final, the recent re-emergence of the Accountability and Justice Commission’s demand to disqualify candidates who contested Iraq’s parliamentary elections could have far-reaching consequences for the electoral lists that competed in the election as well as for the individual candidates themselves. If the effort is upheld, it could reverse Iraqiyyah's two-seat lead. ISW Fellow James Danly and Research Director Marisa Cochrane Sullivan have produced a numerical analysis that details the thresholds of vote losses that would result in lost seats for Iraqiyyah in the Council of Representatives as a result of the recent efforts by the De-Baathification Commission.

This analysis cannot be completed until the official release of the names of all excluded candidates. Further, the potential losses from excluded candidates from other electoral lists are not incorporated in the figuring but the numbers presented nevertheless convey the tenuousness of the plurality currently enjoyed by Iraqiyah. If candidates from Iraqiyyah are banned, Iraqiyyah stands in danger of losing seats in many provinces, some with the loss of as few as several thousand votes.

Should such a reversal eventuate, there is widespread belief that the Sunni population of Iraq, who voted overwhelmingly for Iyad Allawi’s Iraqiyyah List, would believe themselves to be unjustly disenfranchised, possibly leading to a return to the sectarian tensions from which Iraq has only just emerged.