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War in Iraq

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Information about Iraq: People | Leaders | Flag
History | Government | Geography | Economy

Government (prior to 2003)

Official Name:
Conventional long form: Republic of Iraq
Conventional short form: Iraq
Local short form: Al Iraq
Local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Iraqiyah


Republic with a Ruling Council.

October 3, 1932 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)

Interim constitution:

Executive--Revolutionary Command Council (RCC); President and Council of Ministers appointed by the RCC.
Legislative--National Assembly of members elected in 2000. Judicial--Civil, religious, and special courts.

Administrative subdivisions:
18 provinces.

Political parties:
Ba'ath Party is only legal party in regime controlled territory; Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan are opposition parties that control parts of northern Iraq.

National holidays:
Anniversaries of the 1958 and 1968 revolutions--July 14 and July 17.

Political Conditions

The Ba'ath Party rules Iraq through a nine-member RCC, which enacts legislation by decree. The RCC's president (chief of state and supreme commander or the armed forces) is elected by a two-thirds majority of the RCC. A Council of Ministers (cabinet), appointed by the RCC, has administrative and some legislative responsibilities.

A 250-member National Assembly consisting of 220 elected by popular vote who serve a 4- year term, and 30 appointed by the president to represent the three northern provinces, was last elected in March 2000. Iraq is divided into 18 provinces, each headed by a governor with extensive administrative powers.

Iraq's judicial system is based on the French model introduced during Ottoman rule and has three types of lower courts--civil, religious, and special. Special courts try broadly defined national security cases. An appellate court system and the court of cassation (court of last recourse) complete the judicial structure.

Sources: The U.S. Department of State ( and the CIA World Factbook (

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