2005 Iraqi constitutional referendum

The electorate of Iraq went to the polls on 15 October 2005 to vote in a referendum on whether or not to ratify the proposed constitution of Iraq. After 10 days of counting votes, the country's electoral commission announced that the constitution had been approved by a wide margin nationwide. A number of mainly Sunni critics like future deputy prime minister Saleh al-Mutlaq alleged massive irregularities,[1][2] saying that soldiers broke in to polling stations and changed votes to yes in the crucial province of Nineveh, which was expected by them to provide the third (and deciding) "no" vote.

2005 Iraqi constitutional referendum
15 October 2005 (2005-10-15)
Votes %
Yes 7,742,796 78.59%
No 2,109,495 21.41%
Valid votes 9,852,291 97.99%
Invalid or blank votes 201,809 2.01%
Total votes 10,054,100 100.00%
Registered voters/turnout 15,568,702 64.58%
Results by governorate
Yes:      50-60%      60-70%      70-80%      90-100%
No:      50-60%      80-90%      90-100%

Background and campaign edit

Article 61 of Iraq's Interim Constitution, in effect since 28 June 2004, laid down the rules for the approval of the proposed permanent constitution. The proposed constitution would have been approved in the referendum if both a majority of voters nationwide voted "yes" and there were no more than 2 of the country's 18 governorates where two-thirds of the voters voted "no." On 2 October 2005, the National Assembly weakened the second requirement such that it would only fail to be fulfilled if two-thirds of registered voters—rather than actual voters—in three governorates voted "no." Opponents of the Draft Constitution reacted angrily to this reinterpretation of Article 61 of the Interim Constitution. Critics had also pointed out that such an interpretation reads the term "voter" differently in both requirements; the first requirement is still simply fulfilled if a majority of actual voters nationwide votes yes. After much international criticism, the decision was reversed on 5 October.

The possibility of veto by supermajorities of three or more governorates was originally written into the interim constitution to ensure that the permanent constitution would be acceptable to Iraq's Kurdish minority. However, support for the constitution was weakest among Iraq's Sunni Arab community, and some observers thought that the Sunni vote would result in the constitution's rejection. While the exact ethnic distribution of the Iraqi population by governorate is unknown, because the country had not had an official census for 15 years, governorates that include substantial Sunni populations include Baghdad, Al Anbar, Salah ad Din, Nineveh and Diyala. In the event, Al Anbar, Saladin, and Nineveh all saw majorities vote against ratification, though the vote in Nineveh did not result in the two-thirds "no" supermajority required to scuttle the constitution.

Conduct edit

Voting took place as planned on 15 October. All civilian cars were banned from streets due to heavy security. Attacks against polling stations were reported in Bagdad, with low casualties.[3] Initially, Iraqi election officials had hoped that results of the balloting would be made public by 19 October. On 17 October, however, election officials announced that questions concerning the turnout in some provinces required that the vote be audited, which delayed release of the final figures. A sandstorm in central Iraq has also contributed to the delay. Although Sunni politician Saleh al-Mutlaq has alleged fraud, election monitors from the United Nations said that the vote "went well."[1]

During this election, security detainees held by coalition forces and the Ministry of Interior were given the opportunity to vote. This is the first time in the modern history of the Middle East that detainees of this nature were allowed to vote in any election.

Results edit

On 25 October, Electoral Commission officials released the final results, which indicated that the constitution had been approved. Overall, 79% of voters backed the charter and 21% opposed it. Of 18 governorates, only two recorded "No" votes greater than two thirds—one province short of a veto.

Valid votes9,852,29198.00
Invalid/blank votes201,0892.00
Total votes10,053,380100.00
Registered voters/turnout15,568,70264.57
Source: IFES

By governorate edit

Governorate Demographics Votes % For % Against
1 Baghdad Capital and surrounding area 2,120,615 77.7 22.3
2 Salah ad Din Sunni Arab majority
Claimed partly by, but not yet part of, Kurdistan Autonomous Region
510,152 18.25 81.75
3 Diyala Sunni Arab majority
Claimed partly by, but not yet part of, Kurdistan Autonomous Region
476,980 51.27 48.73
4 Wasit Shi'a Arab majority 280,128 95.7 4.3
5 Maysan Shi'a Arab majority 254,067 97.79 2.21
6 Al Basrah Shi'a Arab majority 691,024 96.02 3.98
7 Dhi Qar Shi'a Arab majority 462,710 97.15 2.85
8 Al Muthanna Shi'a Arab majority 185,710 98.65 1.35
9 Al Qadisyah Shi'a Arab majority 297,176 96.74 3.32
10 Babil Shi'a Arab majority 543,779 94.56 5.44
11 Al Karbala Shi'a Arab majority 264,674 96.58 3.42
12 An Najaf Shi'a Arab majority 299,420 95.82 4.18
13 Al Anbar Sunni Arab majority 259,919 3.04 96.9
14 Nineveh Mostly Sunni Arabs
Claimed partly by, but not yet part of, Kurdistan Autonomous Region
718,758 44.92 55.08
15 Dahuk Part of Kurdistan Autonomous Region 389,198 99.13 0.87
16 Arbil Part of Kurdistan Autonomous Region 830,570 99.36 0.64
17 At Ta'min (now Kirkuk) Claimed by, but not yet part of, Kurdistan Autonomous Region 542,688 62.91 37.09
18 As Sulaymaniyah Part of Kurdistan Autonomous Region 723,723 98.96 1.04
Total 9,852,291 78.59 21.41

Aftermath edit

With the approval of the constitution, elections for a permanent government must be held no later than 15 December 2005, with the new government assuming office no later than 31 December 2005. If the constitution had been rejected, the National Assembly would have been dissolved, and a new transitional government would have been elected to attempt to write another permanent constitution.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b Steele, Jonathan (25 October 2005). "Iraqi constitution yes vote approved by UN". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2013-08-29. Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  2. ^ Wong, Edward (23 October 2005). "Iraqi Constitution Vote Split on Ethnic and Sect Lines; Election Panel Reports No Major Fraud". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2019-10-09. Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  3. ^ Wong, Edward (15 October 2005). "Iraqis Vote on New Constitution". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2015-05-29. Retrieved 6 January 2022.

External links edit