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Iraq Transition

January 30 Iraqi elections facts

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Five days ahead of Iraq's January 30 elections, here are some facts about the balloting and the process itself.

Some of the information came from a news conference Tuesday given by Fareed Ayar, a spokesman for the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI), as well as Izzadeen al Mohammadi, a member of the commission.

The January 30 election

  • Voters inside and outside of Iraq will elect a 275-member National Assembly and will also vote for members of 18 provincial councils. Residents in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region will cast ballots on the national assembly, a provincial council and a Kurdish parliament.
  • For the National Assembly, voters will cast a single ballot for a slate or list of candidates, and parties/coalitions will be awarded seats in the assembly based on the proportion of votes their list or party receives.
  • The National Assembly will select a president and two vice presidents, and the president will appoint a prime minister.
  • The National Assembly will also put together a constitution that must be approved by voters in another referendum.
  • There are 111 lists on the official ballot form.
  • The mandate of the interim Iraqi government expires January 31.
  • "We believe we can actually carry out these elections in the best manner possible and we believe it will be very free, fair and transparent elections," said Izzadeen al Mohammadi Tuesday.
  • Iraq elections logistics

  • Across the country, there will be 6,000 polling centers overseeing 30,000 polling stations. The polling centers are sort of regional headquarters, the polling stations are where the voters will cast their ballots.
  • Inside every polling station there will be six elections employees. Inside every polling center there will be one employee from the IECI and representatives from the registered lists. Each party or list has the right to send an observer to each polling center, IECI officials said.
  • There are 90,000 ballot boxes, which were imported from Canada for $25 each. The boxes are clear plastic and have an opaque lid with a slot in it and four locks.
  • Each polling station will have at least two boxes -- one for ballots for the National Assembly, one for ballots for the provincial council. In the Kurdish region, there will be three boxes at each station -- the additional one is for the Kurdish parliament ballots.
  • Many Iraqis have already registered to vote, but in parts of the troubled Nineveh and Al Anbar provinces, voters will register and cast their ballot at the same time.
  • Iraqis living outside Iraq can vote in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Turkey, UAE, Syria, Jordan, Iran, and Australia. They can only vote on the National Assembly ballot; they may not vote for provincial councils. Elections observers
  • There are 18,000 Iraqi election monitors who have been trained in their work and 23,000 representatives of the political lists registered who will also act as monitors for the voting.
  • There are 128 international monitors registered, among them members of the group Human Rights Watch and the National Democratic Institute.
  • "We also hope the media will also represent a kind of monitoring over these elections," said IECI spokesman Fareed Ayar, explaining that members of the media would be issued a special badge so they could move freely between polling stations.
  • Vote counting

  • Ballots will be counted inside every polling center and will be telephoned into Baghdad. At least one employee of the IECI will monitor counting in each center, as well as observers from the political parties.
  • Initial results will begin releasing possibly six days after the elections, Ayar said. Official results are expected 10 days after the election.
  • Security

  • The Iraqi Army -- including the Iraqi National Guard -- and the Iraqi police, under the guidance of the country's interior ministry, are responsible for security on election day. Multi-national forces will assist as requested.
  • Complaints

  • Al Mohammadi says the IECI is investigating several complaints related to campaigning, including one list accused of using pictures of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani -- the country's top Shiite cleric -- on its posters without authorization. Another complaint has come in about posters threatening that if Iraqis don't vote for a certain list, "they will go to hell," Ayar said.

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