Amid all the dreadful news from Iraq, Australian blogger Arthur Chrenkoff has made it his mission to report the good news. A lot of the time this consists of impossibly cute kitten stories, and those repainted schools we’re always hearing about. But there is some real good news.
And, then, there’s this report on conditions for participation in the Iraqi election, linked by Chrenkoff from Iraq the model
To take part in the elections any group of people or an individual can make an application to the commission to be registered as a political entity, and with the application the individual who wants to be registered as a political entity should pay the sum of 2.5 million Iraqi Dinars while a group of individuals that want to be registered as a political entity should pay 7.5 million Iraqi Dinars. Any bills that result from violations made by the entity will be deducted from the sum. The money will be returned once the election ends if the political entity or a coalition of entities get 50% of the required votes to win a seat. If an entity fails to achieve that the sum will be taken to the treasury.
The requirements for candidates and registering political parties are:
1-A list of members qualified for voting that contains no less than 500 individual.
2-An internal regulations document that lists the rules that governs the party’s activities.
3-Should have no connection with a militia or an active armed group.
4-Should not receive funds from any militia or active armed group.
5-The political entity should not provoke, take part or encourage terrorist or any criminal activities and violence.
6-The name of the party should not incite hatred or violence and the logo of the party should not contain any religious or military symbols.
The most striking feature is the registration fee. If I have the exchange rate correct, it’s about $US 2500, for an individual candidate, a year’s income for a middle-class Iraqi and an unattainable sum for the average person. This is far higher than in Western countries, and the number of votes required to avoid forfeiting the deposit is also large. (Australia requires $A350 or about $US250, and you only need 4 per cent of the votes to get your money back).
These rules make it almost impossible for an independent individual to run, and provide a huge headstart for the established parties that make up the interim government. And there’s ample room for the incumbents or the occupying forces (it’s not clear who’s in control here) to disqualify anyone they don’t like.
All of this suggests the possibility that the election will be a Soviet-style plebiscite, consisting, for all practical purposes, of a Yes-No vote on a slate of candidates drawn up in a backroom deal among the parties making up the interim assembly. This is how the interim assembly itself was set up, much to the disgust of independent delegates. An outcome where the incumbents ran on a unity ticket and won would be even worse than not holding the election at all.
That concludes the good news for this week.
fn1. It appears that Allawi gives a weekly address to this assembly, but I’m not aware that it’s done anything other than serve as an audience. Does anyone have any info on this ?