Collective Guilt, Selective Exclusion: Iraq's Candidate Screening Process


A road is covered with political parties' campaign materials. © Mohammad Shahid Reza
Publication Date: 
11 Mar 2020

Publication Type:

Dr. Amal Hamdan

In countries emerging from authoritarian rule or conflict, a critical element of transitional justice is the vetting process used to register candidates in transitional elections. Electoral vetting is used to ban individuals who have perpetuated or been involved in human rights abuses, but badly administered or compromised vetting can jeopardize the credibility and integrity of the electoral process.

A new paper from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems outlines comparative examples and approaches from countries such as Afghanistan and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Iraq’s own transition process, currently in a new phase with a new legal framework as of December 2019, is a critical example of past problematic candidate vetting processes that raised concerns about the integrity of its elections.

Collective Guilt, Selective Exclusion: Iraq’s Candidate Screening Process analyzes Iraq’s previous electoral vetting process to illustrate the importance of individual responsibility, clarity in the law and due process protections. It provides recommendations on overhauling the candidate screening process in Iraq and designing electoral vetting processes, possible under regulatory reform in Iraq for future elections, and applicable to similar post-conflict contexts transitioning from authoritarian rule to democracy.

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