Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Iraq Elections

Well, Wikpedia has an excellent write up on the results of the Iraq election. I promised to comment when the results are in, so here goes.

I waited for the results because only then can turnout be confirmed, and only then can an assessment of the election be made.

1) It seems clear that 58% turnout is a good result, and demonstrates a willingness to support democracy. 8,550,871 votes compares to a population 15-64 years: 56.7% (male 7,280,167; female 7,094,688) (CIA World Factbook). On the negative side, the influence of Al Sistani as an eminence grise is more alarming, it sets up the possibility of an Iran style system where the civil political forces are hemmed in by the theocratic. Not that alarming, though, Britain had a similar system with the House of Lords in the ninteenth century, and I remain quietly confident that civil society in Iran will prevail.

2) It's interesting to note spoilt/invalid ballots though, at 94,305 votes came in 5th - that's quite high, very high, I'd venture to say. Quite what it means is anyone's guess. Some have suggested people were voting to get the purple dye to be seen to have voted (so much for the secret ballot), despite being against the elections. Perhaps there are genuine literacy issues. Perhaps there was a genuine protest going on. Anyway, that's 3 seats worth of invalid votes.

3) Interestingly, apparently the Largest Remainder with a Hare quota system was used to allocate seats on a national Party-List so that should represent the most accurate transfer of votes into seats possible. Full description of the electoral rules here. That it was on a national list means that there would be no windfall gains for regions asssigned a remainder of constituency seats, i.e. distortion is at a minimum. However, it does mean that all the lists are highly centralised, perhaps dangerously remote from what appear to be tight-knit communities.

4) Obviously, the secrecy (i.e. not knowing who the candidates were) and other parts of the election in a state of war does mark against the perfection of the election. It must be born in mind.

Overall, though, hopeful. Given how fragile democracy can be (another discussion from a book I read lately) we need to look at how deep democracy can root itself.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A commie bleeding his heart over wasted votes? Sheeeez. I prefered the old style commies - they were utterly wrong, of course, but they weren't bleeding hearts who cried over spilt milk, like this Commie Lite blog.

1:21 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

I'm not crying over spoilt votes, I'm trying to tease out the significance. Imagine in the UKL over 1%, about 400,000 votes being spoilt in an elkection. One percenmt is a deent show for a fring party, but that sort of figure could indicate a deep opposition to the politics as they stand. Spoiilt ballots are often ignored. As someone who has helped run a spilt vote campaign, I pay attention to them...

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chairman Bill, if adults are incapable of marking a cross on a list then not only do they not deserve to vote but they don’t deserve to exist. The problem with you commies is that you value nobodies. Why do you want to steal my money and give it to these retards?!!!!

4:01 PM  

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