Electoral Systems Today: Iraq’s Year of Voting Dangerously

Issue Date April 2006
Volume 17
Issue 2
Page Numbers 89-103
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The year 2005 may prove to have been one of the most politically consequential in the modern history of Iraq. In the space of less than eleven months, the country held three elections. The elections took place successfully, with Iraqis voting in large numbers despite widespread logistical challenges, terrorist intimidation, and insurgent violence. But in their entrenchment of ethnic and sectarian fissures as the main organizing principle of politics, the three votes highlighted the role and limits of electoral-system design in the quest to manage and contain potentially polarizing divisions.