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POGAR > Countries > Country Theme: Local Government: Iraq
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Local Government History

The Coalition Provisional Authority originally intended to invigorate the previous regime’s municipalities and local councils with fresh faces, so as to create a local political infrastructure for national elections. When the strategy changed, the municipal and neighborhood advisory councils tended to be neglected.

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Administrative Divisions

18 governorates (muhafazat): Al Anbar, Al Basrah, Al Muthanna, Al Qadisiyah, An Najaf, At Ta'mim, Babil, Baghdad, Dhi Qar, Diyala, Karbala', Maysan, Ninawa, Salahad Din, Wasit, Arbil, As-Sulaymaniyah, and Dahuk. The last three are situated in the Kurdish Autonomous Region in the North. Each governorate has an elected council. The governorates are divided into administrative districts and sub districts. Baghdad has 15 districts with appointed councils: nine inside the city of 5 million and six on the outskirts. Most municipal mayors used to be elected in municipal elections, but some, such as the major of Baghdad, were appointed.

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Local Elections

The last provincial councils elections in Iraq were held on 31 January 2009. The final results of the elections, announced by the Supreme Elections Commission on 19 February 2009, revealed that the list of the “State of Law Coalition” backed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki won 126 seats out of a total of 440 seats in 14 provinces where local elections were held. The “State of Law Coalition” took the lead in 10 provinces and occupied 28.5% of total seats in the 14 provinces. “Al Hadba List” in Mosul won the majority of seats in Ninewa and was able to secure 19 seats of the 37 seats in the province. On the other hand, 6 seats were allocated for minorities out of a total of 440 seats in all provinces. Two seats were allocated for Christians and Sabi’a in Baghdad, three seats in Mosul for Christians, Shabak and Yazidis, and one seat for Christians in Basra province.

Women won 110 seats of a total of 440 seats covering 14 provinces in which elections were held. The results announced by the Electoral Commission indicated that women won more than a quarter of seats in 4 provinces: Baghdad, Ninewa, Wasit, and Diyala. In Najef, women secured exactly one quarter of the provincial council seats, whereas, they won less than a quarter of the seats in the remaining 9 provinces. Women will occupy 16 seats in the Baghdad’s provincial council; 11 in Ninewa’s; 9 seats in Wasit and 8 seats in each of the provinces of Diyala, Karabala, Thi Qar and Babil; 7 seats in each province of Basra, Najef, Al Anbar and Missan, and six seats in Al-Diwania provincial council and 4 seats each in Al Muthanna and Salah El Din provinces.

Elections to the eighteen governorate councils were previously held in January 2005. Baghdad’s council has 51 members, while the others have 41 each.

Municipal elections took place in August 1999 in the fifteen government-controlled governorates. There were 5910 candidates for 4851 seats on municipal councils. In the three northern governorates municipal elections were held in February 2000 in areas under the control of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and in May 2001 in areas under control of the Kurdish Democratic Party KDP. There were 155 mayoral candidates and 916 municipal council candidates running for office.

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