In 1988 there were eighteen governorates (alwiya, sing.,
liwa), each administered by a governor appointed by the
president. Each governorate was divided into districts (aqdhiya,
sing., qadha) headed by district officers (qaimaqamun;
sing., qaimaqam); each district was divided into subdistricts
(nawahy; sing., nahiyah) under the responsibility
of subdistrict officers (mudara; sing., mudir).
Mayors headed cities and towns. Municipalities were divided into
several categories depending upon the size of local revenues.
Baghdad, the national capital, had special administrative status.
The mayor of Baghdad and the mayors of other cities were presidential
In 1971 President Bakr promulgated the National Action Charter,
a broad statement of Baath Party political, economic, social,
and foreign policy objectives. This document called for the formation
of popular councils in all administrative subdivisions. These
councils were to be given the right to supervise, to inspect,
and to criticize the work of the government. The first councils
were appointed in 1973 in accordance with a law promulgated by
the RCC. As late as 1988, however, there was insufficient empirical
research available to determine whether the popular councils were
autonomous forums for the channeling of grievances or were merely
Baath Party-dominated institutions used to encourage active popular
support of, and involvement in, government-initiated activities.
Data as of May 1988