Iraq’s Elections Harmed Democracy

Ayad Allawi, the prime minister of Iraq from 2004 to 2005, argues in the New York Times that the rush to elections and the poor electoral system are hindering reconciliation and real democracy in Iraq. “Reconciliation between Iraq’s ethnic and religious groups will begin only when we change the flawed electoral system that was created after the fall of Saddam Hussein.” He argues that rather than closed party lists, Iraq needs a new electoral system completely district-based, like the American Congress, or a “mixed party list” system like that in Germany, in which some representatives are directly elected and other seats are allotted based on the parties’ overall showing. He also calls for a complete ban on the use of religious symbols and rhetoric by candidates and parties.