Non-Self Determination: Foreign Elements in Iraq's Post-Conflict Electoral Design

26 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2013 Last revised: 17 Jan 2013

See all articles by Ryan Suto

Ryan Suto

Pennsylvania State University; Syracuse University

Date Written: December 15, 2011


This paper discusses the elections which took place in 2005 after the US-led invasion of Iraq. Specifically, it focuses on the policy choices made by foreign and foreign-chosen actors regarding those elections. After offering a background of the post-invasion setting, the electoral system for these elections was described. Lastly, offered are four critiques. First, that the January 2005 election to create a body to write a new constitution should have resulted in a much more representative body given the importance of constitution writing. Next, the de-Ba’athification process itself served to undermine the legitimacy of the transitional elections. Moreover, a truth commission for state-sponsored injustice and the use of amnesty would have proven to be a better model for transitional justice than de-Ba’athification. Lastly, foreign influences in Iraq were a primary hindrance which rendered the transitional process largely unsuccessful. This paper argues that the chief problem with democracy at gunpoint is that as a process it is not chosen democratically, and as such bequeaths upon the resultant systems an original sin of external imposition. The paper suggests that such foreign actors in the future should consider more fully the ramifications of imposed democracy.

Keywords: Iraq, de-Ba'athification, post-conflict, elections

Suggested Citation

Suto, Ryan, Non-Self Determination: Foreign Elements in Iraq's Post-Conflict Electoral Design (December 15, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Ryan Suto (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University ( email )

University Park
State College, PA 16802
United States

Syracuse University ( email )

900 S. Crouse Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2130
United States

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics