Qualification of Parliamentary Candidates

Posted on | February 20, 2010

A candidate for election to the Council of Representatives must be an Iraqi (Article 49(2) of the Constitution) who is not permitted to combine the office with any work or other official position (Article 49(6)).

Article 6 of the Election Law No. 16 of 2005 states that:
A candidate must be a voter [i.e. registered to vote], in addition to the following:
1- Must be no less than thirty years old of age.
2- Must not be covered by the DeBa’thification law.
3- He must not have enriched himself illegally at the expense of the state or public funds.
4- He must not have been convicted of a crime that violates honor and must be known for his good conduct.
5- He must have at least a high school certificate or its equivalent.
6- He must not be a member of the armed forces upon nomination.

Article 7 states:
Nominees shall be subject to the approval of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq.

The Electoral Commission Regulations do not add anything to these stipulations but Regulation 16 set out IHEC’s powers in relation to candidates and the appeal process from any IHEC decision.

The Accountability and Justice Law No. 10 of 2008 does not specifically refer to candidates for election but provides a process by which senior Ba’th party members are to be identified and barred from public office. It is possible to appeal under Article 2(9) & (10) of that law to a Cassation Board of Accountability and Justice.

There is a separate appeal route to an Electoral Judicial Panel (also drawn from members of the Court of Cassation) under Article 8(3) and (4) of the Independent High Electoral Commission Law No. 11 of 2007 from a decision of the Independent High Electoral Commission to bar a candidate from standing for election.

Article 20 of the Constitution states:
Iraqi citizens, men and women, shall have the right to participate in public affairs and to enjoy political rights including the right to vote, elect, and run for office.

However Article 9(C) states:
The Iraqi armed forces and their personnel, including military personnel working in the Ministry of Defense or any subordinate departments or organizations, may not stand for election to political office, campaign for candidates, or participate in other activities prohibited by Ministry of Defense regulations. This ban includes the activities of the personnel mentioned above acting in their personal or professional capacities, but shall not infringe upon the right of these personnel to cast their vote in the elections.

and Article 7(1) of the Constitution states:
Any entity or program that adopts, incites, facilitates, glorifies, promotes, or justifies racism or terrorism or accusations of being an infidel (takfir) or ethnic cleansing, especially the Saddamist Ba’ath in Iraq and its symbols, under any name whatsoever, shall be prohibited. Such entities may not be part of the political pluralism in Iraq. This shall be regulated by law.

And Article 46 of the Constitution states:
Restricting or limiting the practice of any of the rights or liberties stipulated in this Constitution is prohibited, except by a law or on the basis of a law, and insofar as that limitation or restriction does not violate the essence of the right or freedom.

Article 18(4) of the constitution states:
An Iraqi may have multiple citizenships. Everyone who assumes a senior, security or sovereign position must abandon any other acquired citizenship. This shall be regulated by law.
Although at first sight this might appear to prevent a legislator from carrying dual nationality, it has not been interpreted in this way and many Members of the Council of Representatives have dual nationality.