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The Iraq Transition

The Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) was signed on 08 March 2004 by the Interim Governing Council (GC) of Iraq and will be the Supreme Law of Iraq during the transitional period. The TAL sets out a path for the establishment of a representative and sovereign Iraqi government that protects fundamental rights and provides a stable political structure. The TAL will expire once a government is elected under a permanent constitution and takes office, which will happen no later than December 31 2005. The first phase of the transitional period began on 30 June 2004 when an Iraqi Interim Government was vested with full sovereignty, and the Coalition Provisional Authority was dissolved. The Iraqi government will govern according to the TAL and an annex issued before the beginning of the transitional period. The second phase begins when the Iraqi Transitional Government takes office after the elections of the National Assembly. These elections are to take place by December 31 2004, but no later than 31 January 2005.

Phase I: On 30 June 2004, an Iraqi Interim Government was vested with full sovereignty, and the Coalition Provisional Authority dissolved. This Iraqi government was formed through a process of widespread consultation with the Iraqi people and the Iraqi Governing Council and governs according to the Transitional Administrative Law and an annex issued before the beginning of the transitional period.

Phase II: The Iraqi Transitional Government will take office after elections for the National Assembly. These elections will take place as soon as possible, but no later than 31 January 2005.

Phase I - Iraqi Interim Government

The primary duty of the Iraqi Interim Government is to prepare the country for national elections, to be held no later then 31 January 2005. With this goal in mind, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) was formed on 04 June 2004 with the 8 members picked by a UN advisory team from the UN Electoral Assistance Division in the Department of Political Affairs.

The Role of the Independent Electoral Commission:

  • To oversee an orderly and accurate national election.
  • Advised by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) as per UNSC Resolution 1546.

The eight members of the IEC are: Abdul-Hussein al Hindawi, Fareed Michael, Hamdi Abbas al-Husseini, Ibrahim Ali Ali, Izzadine Mohammed Shafiq, Mustafa Safwat Rashid, Mohammed al-Jabouri, and the chairman, Mohammed Allami. They were chosen from across the country, but none is widely known.

The commission is charged with registering voters, setting up polling places and other infrastructure, and hiring and training election employees - including some 130,000 poll workers. It will also draw up some political party rules and educate Iraqis about the voting. Violence made it impossible to screen applicants for the commission in some parts of the country such as Fallujah, a Sunni Muslim stronghold west of Baghdad, and four Shiite Muslim provinces in southern Iraq, where Muqtada al-Sadr's al-Mahdi Army militia was active - Kut, Diwaniyah, Karbala and Najaf.

The U.N. team also decided that a system of proportional representation with the whole country as single electoral unit would best suit Iraq's present circumstances. Anyone may run in the elections after collecting 500 signatures of voters supporting his or her candidacy. To ensure women make up a quarter of Iraq's future parliament, parties must the name of a woman in every third place on the candidate list. The U.S.-led coalition authority in Iraq set aside an estimated $250-$260 million for the January elections. Iraqis will later have to decide on a presidential or parliamentary system of government.

The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq announced that voters in Iraq's January 2005 elections will have their thumbs marked with indelible ink to prevent them casting ballots more than once. Senior members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party will not be allowed to run, unless they have been exempted from laws barring them from public office, the commission said. Iraqis who were once "full members" of the party which ruled Iraq for 35 years will be required to sign a document renouncing their membership in order to participate. Former members of Saddam's security agencies, which terrorised Iraqis throughout his 23-year rule, are also barred from running, as are Iraqis found to have taken part in the persecution of fellow citizens or to have illegally amassed wealth.

The registration of parties and independent candidates wishing to participate in the election will begin November 1 2004 and continue until mid-December 2004, the commission said. Verification of voter rolls will take place over the same period. Foreign and local experts will be allowed to monitor the January 2005 vote, said Safwat Rasheed, another board member. However, they must belong to recognised non-governmental organisations.

An estimated 30,000 polling stations will be needed in Iraq by January 2005 if elections for the National Assembly are to take place before the deadline.

Phase II - Transitional Authority

The National Assembly (Transitional Legislative Authority)

The Transitional Legislative Authority will be vested in a National Assembly, which will pass laws and help select and oversee the work of the executive authority. The 275 members of the National Assembly will be freely elected by the people of Iraq, under an electoral system designed to achieve representation of women of at least one-quarter of its members, as well as fair representation of all of Iraq's communities.

The Transitional Executive Authority

The Transitional Executive Authority will consist of the Presidency and the Council of Ministers, including the Prime Minister.

  • The Presidency Council will consist of the President and two Deputy Presidents, and will be elected by the National Assembly as a group. The Presidency Council will represent the sovereignty of Iraq, may veto laws, and make appointments. All decisions of the Presidency Council will be taken unanimously.
  • The Presidency Council will nominate the Prime Minister and, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, will also nominate the Council of Ministers. All ministers will need to be confirmed in a vote of confidence by the National Assembly.
  • The Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers will oversee the day-to-day management of the government.

Federal Judicial Authority

The Federal Judicial Authority will be independent. A Federal Supreme Court will be created to hear judicial appeals and to ensure that all laws in Iraq are consistent with the Transitional Administrative Law. It will consist of nine members, who will be appointed by the Presidency Council upon the recommendation of an impartial Higher Juridical Council.

Forming the Permanent Constitution

The National Assembly will be responsible for drafting the permanent constitution. After consulting with the Iraqi people and completing a draft, the proposed constitution will be submitted to the public in a referendum, which will occur no later than 15 October 2005. If the constitution is adopted, elections for a new government under the constitution will be held, and the new government will take office no later than 31 December 2005.



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