Successful Caucus Elections in Samawa
Veteran Middle East reporter Nicholas Blanford writes in the Christian Science Monitor about the successes of the Coalition Provisional Authority in sponsoring caucus-type elections in Muthanna Province in the hardscrabble Shiite south. He describes how the populace is given the opportunity to put 100 names of delegates forward, who in turn elect a mayor and a city council. The CPA mandates that 10 percent of electees be women. Most electees among the men seem to be technocrats, tribal leaders, and clerics.
Of course, these aren’t really caucuses, which are far more democratic and unpredictable. It still is not entirely clear to me how the 100 are selected by the townspeople, and one could imagine processes that were intrinsically unfair.
Nor are they good practice for genuine, democratic one-person, one-vote elections, which are envisaged for late 2005. Blanford says that Paul “Jerry” Bremer has ordered that the Muthanna model be implemented throughout the country. These are the sorts of elections that will produce a transitional government in Iraq this spring according to US plans.