As the election of Iraq was held two days ago and initial results are calculated, Muqtada al-Sadr had won the election, but some parties have strongly criticized the election and called it a "rigged" election, so if some parties don't accept the result and be able to offer credible evidences for their claim what would happen according to Iraq law?

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    Depending how much interest the US still has in the region, they might broker a deal as they did for Afghanistan's last quagmire of an election back then. Still, I think this Q is rather too speculative too answer as you asked. Commented Oct 12, 2021 at 18:18
  • I've edited out the part about not providing answers based on Wikipedia, because it is a perfectly trustworthy source, and if you want to use other sources, Wikipedia always cites its sources in its articles. Commented Oct 12, 2021 at 18:28
  • Also, are you asking for what the law will say will happen, or asking us to predict what is going to actually happen? Commented Oct 12, 2021 at 18:29
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    My personal opinion: things don't look good for Iraq as they seem locked in the same kind of pure sectarian parties that have doomed Lebanon's politics. Commented Oct 12, 2021 at 18:36
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    @EkadhSingh-ReinstateMonica I'm asking about the legal process and law not personal opinion, however personal opinions are precious, too.
    – user39855
    Commented Oct 12, 2021 at 18:56

1 Answer 1


The election was held October 10, 2021 except that soldiers, prisoners and displaced people voted early on 8 October. It is the fifth election in Iraq for parliament since 2003, and the party that had expressed the most concern about fraud prior to the election improved its standing in parliament in the preliminary results (see also here).

The Congressional Research Service (a non-partisan government agency in the legislative branch that does research to advise members of Congress) noted in a report prepared in the days leading up to the election that the recent election in Iraq was being carried out using a new election system:

Under a new voting law finalized in 2020, Iraq adopted a single nontransferable vote system (one vote, one candidate, multiple seats per constituency). Voters will select 320 candidates across 83 local constituencies and nine candidates for seats reserved for minority groups.At least 25% of the COR seats are reserved for women, with one seat per constituency designated for female candidates. Prior elections saw voters choose party lists in province-wide constituencies. The provincial list system favored larger parties and enabled them to seat loyalists who might not have attracted support as individual candidates.

Iraq’s new electoral system could enable independent and locally accountable candidates to prevail, but few analysts expect fundamental change to result from the election. While fewer candidates registered, a higher proportion are independent candidates, reflecting new political and tribal dynamics. Iraqi officials and clerics are encouraging voters to participate, but most analysts expect low turnout, reflecting some boycotts and Iraqis’ lack of confidence that participation will produce change. Pro-Iran groups may have lost some support by suppressing protests, but Iraqi analysts expect they will use resources and intimidation to maintain their influence.

In doing so, it referenced a United Nations Fact Sheet. This provides in some pertinent respects:

What is the legal framework?

The elections are governed by Elections Law No. 9 of 2020 of the Iraqi Council of Representatives. According to this Law, the Council of Representatives is comprised of 329 seats. 320 of those are distributed among the governorates within 83 constituencies, which have been defined under the new electoral system. The remaining 9 seats are reserved for minorities called component seats:

 Christians: 5 seats in Baghdad, Dohuk, Erbil, Kirkuk and Ninewa

 Yezidis: 1 seat in Ninewa

 Sabean Mandeans: 1 seat in Baghdad

 Shabaks: 1 seat in Ninewa

 Fayli Kurds: 1 seat in Wasit

How will women be represented?

According to the Constitution, 25% of all seats in the Council of Representatives are reserved for women. And one seat in each of the 83 constituencies is set aside for female candidates. These are just minimums. More female candidates can be elected.

How many electoral constituencies are there across the country?

Currently, there are 83.

What is the electoral system in Iraq?

Iraq uses the “Single Non-Transferable Vote” system, which is a plurality electoral system based on multi-seat electoral constituencies. Each voter casts one vote for one candidate. But every constituency has more than one seat. Candidates who get the most votes win seats. . . .

How will the ballots be counted?

 In all polling stations, ballots are counted electronically by the PCOS machine as the ballot papers are inserted into the machine.

 One polling station out of each polling centre will be randomly selected for manual counting.

 If the difference between the manual and electronic count results in a difference of more than 5%, all polling station results in that polling centre will also be counted manually, and the manual count will prevail.

The election was administered by a body informally known as the Iraqi election commission, but officially known as the Independent High Electoral Commission (see also here).

The Independent High Electoral Commission (Arabic: المفوضية العليا المستقلة للانتخابات‎; IHEC) is Iraq's electoral commission. The electoral commission is headed by a nine-member board. Seven of those members are voting and must be Iraqi citizens. The other two members are the Chief Electoral Officer and an outside expert appointed by the United Nations. . . .

Little is known about the commission, its procedures, organization, composition, or acts. The commission receives lists of candidates to ban from the Council of Representatives Accountability and Justice Commission.16

It also set up the voting places in fourteen nations outside of Iraq. The Commission is also tasked with dealing with complaints about the election.

The Council of Representatives Accountability and Justice Commission is a panel established by the Parliament.

According to the New York Times, in a disputed 2010 election in Iraq, the dispute was heard in the first instance by a "special election court" but was subject to appeal to a "higher Iraqi federal court."

The "special election court" is probably a reference to the Independent High Electoral Commission acting in a quasi-judicial capacity or with a special master or hearing officer presiding, in addition to supervising the administration of the election logistically.

This "higher Iraqi federal court" appears to be the Federal Supreme Court of Iraq which has jurisdiction to ratify the final results of general elections to the Council of Representatives (i.e. parliament), presumably after appellate briefing, if any, from contests raised in the "special election court" based upon the trial record established there.

In 2010, the entire election contest process appears to have taken three to four months from the date of the election to complete.

There are basically 92 separate elections in which disputes could be raised, in addition to general issues related to the overall election structure and conduct and specific issues related to the handling of non-resident ballots. As in any election, only close races will be worth seriously contesting.

The new system's vote counting is quite simple. The Commission simply tallies up the votes cast for each candidate in each of the separate 92 elections and declares the highest vote winners elected (with manual recounts automatically triggered in any remotely close races following the preliminary results already announced).

Each election involves an average of about 100,000 votes cast (although some are apparently much larger than others and have more seats assigned to them and results are appointed by province rather than by election district in the sources available to me).

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    Thanks, this was very good and comprehensive, by these words we can conclude that the groups believe in fraud must bring their evidence to the Supreme Court of Iraq (if the disputes don't lead to a civil war)
    – user39855
    Commented Oct 13, 2021 at 15:03
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    Just add something, "Pro-Iran groups may have lost some support by suppressing protests, but Iraqi analysts expect they will use resources and intimidation to maintain their influence." There's no evidence that Iran ever tried to exert leverage or effect the election in Iraq.
    – user39855
    Commented Oct 13, 2021 at 15:06
  • @markvs It provides the best answer possible given the available information. It appears that to dispute an election outcome, one files a complaint with the IHEC which investigates and holds a hearing, subject to appeal to Iraq's Supreme Court that makes the final decision. But, as noted, little is known procedures for such a challenge because the IHEC doesn't share them publicly.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 0:48
  • This answer is too abstract. Yes, in principle the folks can contact IHEC or even the Supreme Court. But since al-Sadr is involved, as soon as they bring their finding to light, they are going to be killed. So the folks would not do and should not do anything.
    – markvs
    Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 1:52
  • @ohwilleke: " It provides the best answer possible given the available information. " This is not quite correct because you did not take into account the existing information about al-Sadr. He is actually very well known in Iraq as well as outside Iraq en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muqtada_al-Sadr .
    – markvs
    Commented Oct 27, 2021 at 4:09

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