Copyright (c) 2006 Temple International and Comparative Law Journal
Temple International and Comparative Law Journal
NOTE & COMMENT: LESSONS FROM IRAQ: ELECTORAL LEGITIMACY IN THE SHADOW OF ETHNORELIGIOUS CONFLICT
20 Temp. Int'l & Comp. L.J. 529
Kristina Arvanitis *
I. Introduction: The Transitional and Permanent Elections in Iraq
"Free and Fair" Elections: New World Order in Iraq?
It was the predominant newspaper front-page photo in the United States and internationally on the morning of January 31, 2005: the image of a Shiite Muslim woman draped in black hijab holding her purple-stained index finger aloft for the camera, grinning triumphantly as she emerged from a polling place in a poor village in southern Iraq. 1 This photograph of a smiling Shiite woman exercising her right to vote would have been unthinkable during the leadership of former president Saddam Hussein. To the Western world, the photograph and indeed, the electoral process itself, was a step towards a more all-inclusive Iraq, a nation where once marginalized citizens could reclaim their voice in government and emerge as true stakeholders in the political scheme. Despite the prospect of violence, the threat of a Sunni boycott, and the fact that some called it a "secret election," 2 this first new election in Iraq was billed as both a new beginning for an Iraq free of dictatorial rule and a fighting chance for ethnic and religious minorities to voice their once-ignored concerns and to gain representation. The election signified a new world order: an Iraq that welcomed all of its citizens into the arms of the political process. 3
This transitional election, 4 which instated a temporary legislature to oversee the drafting of a new Iraqi constitution and ...
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