In the summer of 2009 Iraq announced that it would have its first national census since 1987. The date was set for October 24, 2009, but the government was afraid that it would cause tensions in provinces like Tamim and Ninewa where there are disputed territories. In those areas, the make up of the population is a major point of contention. Whoever has the largest numbers has an immediate advantage in its claims for control. This led to a delay in the poll.
Now, in the beginning of October Iraq has announced that it is officially restarting the census. The government has one year to complete the task, and it is starting right where the controversy began, Ninewa and Tamim, as well as the three Kurdish provinces of Dohuk, Irbil, and Sulaymaniya. The main difference between the first census date, and the new one is that it will now finish after the January 2010 parliamentary election. Iraqi politicians worried that the census would cause trouble in the run-up to the vote, and now don’t have to worry about that for the short term. When the results are announced however that could be another story.
Alsumaria, “Iraq prepares for census,” 10/5/09
Reuters, “Citing Tensions, Iraq Abandons Census Plans,” 8/16/09