Iraq's Stolen Election:
How Assyrian Representation Became Assyrian Repression
November 27, 2018
In elections characterized as fraudulent by a wide spectrum of the public, five new Christian representatives were elected in May 2018 to fill the five seats reserved for Christians in the Iraqi Parliament.
Crude Iraqi electoral law left the voting process for the selection of Christian MPs open to abuse. This enabled powerful non-Christian parties to exploit the quota system. Through the strategy of creating and controlling Christian proxy organizations—the Kurdistan Democratic Party was able to capture two of the five quota seats reserved for Christians. The Badr Organization, an Iranian-backed Arab group operating militarily and politically across Iraq, also secured two of the five seats through the Babylon Movement, a nominally Christian, Muslim group used to extend and superficially diversify Badr's presence in the north of the country.
The absence of laws to protect the spirit and purpose of the quota—first by mandating that only Christian voters can select their representatives, and second by prohibiting the use of financial patronage by dominant groups to colonize the political landscape of marginalized ethno-religious populations—has therefore resulted in the near-complete elimination of independent Christian Assyrian political representation in Iraq's 2018 parliamentary elections.
The election results for Christian seats demonstrate the growing sophistication of groups abusing the proxy system. The structure of this system splinters, destabilizes, and enfeebles independent Assyrian political representation, and worryingly, it is becoming increasingly normalized and institutionalized by the dominant groups who benefit from it.
This negative trend has occurred in every federal, regional, and provincial election since 2003 and has been detrimental to Assyrian interests from the establishment of the quota system. The massive documentation supporting the alleged abuse of the quota system showed that it significantly impacted the election results and overshadowed the votes of the Assyrian community in Iraq.