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The Iraqi Elections Again: The Results and the Future PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 20 February 2005 14:20
Finally, the results of the January 30th general elections in Iraq were declared official and final at 4:00 PM Thursday, February, 17th.  Three days after their Sunday's (February 13th) announcement that these three days were granted to allow people who had complaints and grievances to address them with the independent high commission for the Iraqi elections, which was in charge of the operation to settle them. The number of voters who participated in the election was 8,465,266 people from inside and outside the country which represented according to the commission was 58% of the Iraqis who were eligible to vote.

The elections were described as historical and successful.  They were historical, because they have brought to an end a chapter in the saga of this country and its people which was absolutely chaotic and bloody, characterized by a great deal of insecurity and suffering. The elections have also been described especially by the Americans and their friends who have insisted on going ahead with them in spite of the requests of the many who asked for a few months postponement as extremely successful, it was free and fair in spite of threats and intimidation which was posed by those who were against the whole process from the start.  The elections have also laid the ground for the principle that Iraq can never be ruled by only one of the multitude of ethnic and religious factions which make up its society.  The yardstick by which its success will be measured is the extent to which it will bring about the cherished and long awaited dream of a free, independent, prosperous and democratic Iraq.  There are still two very important questions to which I was unable to get answers for: The first, is how was the commission able to decide that the Iraqi population is 27.5 million?  The second, is what were the criteria they used which enabled them to grant almost a 14 million Iraqis the right to vote?

The certified results were as follows: The Shiite list that was blessed by the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani which was a coalition of seven Shiite parties, received 140 seats; the Kurds followed with 75 seats; and the list led by Dr. Alawi, the interim Prime Minister finished with 40 seats.  These results represented about 85% of the number of the cast ballots.  The remainder seats were distributed amongst a small number from the plethora of groups who were competing for the prize with one or two seats, but the most astonishing result was the dismal showing of the Communists, the Turkmens and that of the serving president al-Yawer.  The president has ended up with only five seats, and the Communists whom I thought would come out as one the first five with at least 20-30 seats managed only two.

In my first letter on the elections, I have made a number of predictions about the results some of them were proved to have been correct, others were wrong.  I am not saying this to boast about my intelligence and understanding of what is happening here, or trying to cover up my mistakes.  I am trying to emphasize that the current situation in this country is so chaotic and unpredictable that it is absolutely foolish to be dogmatic and uncompromising in opinions and analysis.  It would not be wise to accept any news unquestionably, especially what the media are saying.  Since the media tend to sanitize, dramatize and sensationalize, the media outlets are not informing they are misinforming.

The mandate of this assembly is going to last until the end of the year, in the meantime it will have two immediate duties:

1.  The election of a three members presidential council by a two thirds majority, a president and two vice-presidents, who in turn should agree the three of them on a nominee for the Prime Minister¬ís job who should be accepted by the assembly by a simple majority who should then assemble a cabinet and present to the assembly for a vote of confidence also by a simple majority.

2.  Start the process of writing a constitution the draft of which is to be prepared by people from amongst its members and others from outside its ranks.  This draft would be presented by the assembly to the Iraqi people in sometime in the fall for a yes or no vote.  If it is accepted, another election will be held in December for another assembly which will serve for four years.

The writing of the constitution is going to be a difficult and an extremely complicated job, for the simple reason that it has to reconcile the often very diverse views of those who make up the Iraqi society itself especially the three main pillars of Iraqi society, the Sunnis, the Shiites and the Kurds.  What is going to make things even more complicated is that the draft constitution should be accepted by practically all of the 18 Iraqi Governorates, any three can veto the draft and block its implementation.  If that would happen today, then there are four Governorates that would certainly veto the constitution.  These Governorates are the ones which are known as the Sunni triangle who are totally against the current attempts at the creation of a new political structure, because they feel they are being neglected and marginalized that it is why it is absolutely necessary that the Sunnis be brought into the political process and involve them into the current attempts of rebuilding the country.  Otherwise, we are going to go back to point zero, the vicious circle of death and destruction will go on with possibly more death and destruction.

Dr. Najeeb Hanoudi
Baghdad, Feb., 19, 2005
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