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More Iraqi Election



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An administration official has some details (some of this might already have appeared in the press):

Turn-out in Fallujah estimated at 220,000. It was 20,000 in October. 50,000 in Ramadi v. 5,000 in October. 40,000 in Western Anbar v. several hundred in October.

There were 6,250 polling stations, and a total of 35 security incidents. That’s down considerably from January and October. Fatalities were one U.S. soldier, 10 Iraqi civilians, two Iraqi security forces, and one terrorist. The U.N. reports that no polling places were closed because of security incidents.

Voting was extended by one hour to accommodate crowds, and 97 1/2% of voting centers were open and ready to go by 10 a.m. local time.

There are reports of voter fraud in localities, but nothing major, and there was some voter intimidation in Anbar.

Ballot counting has started and will take at least two weeks.

This is how the process works going forward: Within 15 days of the certification of the results, the Council of Representatives (COR) is convened. At its first session it selects a speaker and two deputies by an absolute majority. Then, the COR selects a presidency council–a prez and two vices–by a two-thirds majority. This is where the problem enters in.

There’s no deadline for selecting the presidency council. Therefore there is a danger this could really slip and take forever. Zal will have to be leaning on them very, very hard.

Once the presidency council is selected it has 15 days to agree unanimously on a prime minister designate. He has to come from the party with the most seats. It is thought likely that the presidency council and the prime minister–perhaps the speaker too–will all be agreed to together as part of a big package deal involving three or four parties.

Then, the prime minister designate has 30 days to select a cabinet (most important slots: interior and defense) and come up with a ministerial program, all of which are submitted to the COR for approval by an absolute majority.

Finally, they are all sworn in.



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