Reports from Iraq
: Zeyad is back with two very informative posts at Healing Iraq. Zeyad’s reporting comes in shades of gray: not the white of Iraq The Model or the black of Riverbend. As much as I love and respect the ITM guys for their courageous stand in favor of a free future and as glad as I am that we can hear every perspective, including Riverbend’s angry view, it is Zeyad who provides sophisticated, balanced, yet personal and human reporting from Iraq. From his first post, he was glad to be free but also bluntly realistic about the hardships and fears he and his family are living under.
In the first post today, Zeyad gives us an incredibly detailed and eduational post about the Iraq election process, more than I’ve read anywhere else. He explains what all the coalitions and lists are and how people will vote for lists but only the top candidates from successful parties will get into National Assembly based on their vote total. Zeyad does a wonderful job explaining it, but it’s quite confusing:
A registered voter will cast his vote for ONE of the 93 lists. The National Assembly will consist of 275 members. A candidate would need (total number of voters/275) votes to get a seat in the assembly. For example, if 10 million people vote, divide 10,000,000 by 275 and you get 36,363 votes required for a candidate to be on the assembly (actually it’s 36363.6 votes but I’m not quite sure how they are going to deal with fractional numbers).
So, for a list that gets 11% of the votes (1,100,000 votes), they are allocated 11% of the 275 seats which is [275/11=]25 members. If that particular list has 200 candidates, only the top 25 members on the list get the seats. Therefore it’s easy to conclude that the higher a candidate’s name is on the list, the more likely they would get a seat. I hope I haven’t confused anyone!
I should add that the majority of Iraqi voters are in fact confused and unfamiliar with these details and I have a feeling that the major players intend to keep it this way. The IEC has promised to distribute pamphlets and handbills explaining the above process in simple terms to Iraqi voters.
Recent polls by the IEC indicate that some 80% of eligible voters (all Iraqis over 18 who can prove their Iraqi identity) in the country have registered.
Take that, those of you who think that there are people on this earth who aren’t ready for democracy. Take that along with the incredible turnout in Afghanstan. I will bet that even with the fear of dying at the polls, more Iraqis will show up to vote than at too many American elections. We take our freedom for granted. That, and much more:
In his second long post of the day, Zeyad catalogues the daily difficulties of life in Baghad: still no electricity for hours and even days at a time (why haven’t we yet received a decent explanation for this>), continuing shortages of fuel in an oil-rich land, and phones that just don’t work. Clearly, it is hard and dangerous to get the infrastructure built with terrorism at any corner, but as in any electorate, it is the daily issues of life that will affect the outcome of an election.