Chronicle

Democratic prospects in Iraq

After many rounds and launches, the Iraqi government has set a date for elections this year in October. In a country shaken by continuous protests for almost three years now, the election in October is a glimmer of light, no matter how small, but there are uncertainties about whether the election will even take place.

The choice to choose Iraq Legislative Assembly, which in turn elects the President and Prime Minister, was due to step down in June but was moved to October when the election commission demanded more time to prepare to be able to hold “free and fair elections”.

After several protests that shook the country in October 2019 - and which have not diminished but continued in intensity even today, promised the Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, in an attempt to calm the protesters, to hold early elections. 

The Election Commission hopes to be able to avoid a repeat of the last election in 2018 when turnout was the lowest in modern times with only 44.5 percent. The low turnout is believed to be due to the people's frustration with the political system. But the outlook does not look very optimistic ahead of the October election. The logistical work of preparing the election has fallen behind. 

In a report from the UN It was noted in early March that only 62 percent of voters had registered to vote. The country may end up in a situation where turnout risks being even lower than in the previous election, simply because too few voters are entitled to vote.

Following the postponements, the Iraqi government has set a date for elections in October this year. Photo: Md Mahdi on Unsplash

The protests in 2019 - as the Iraqis called for The October Revolution - initially aroused the people's hope and optimism when they led to the then Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi resigned. His replacement, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, promised to hold early elections and fix the economically gloomy situation in the country. One year after the protests, the situation has not improved, and the people are still out on the streets calling for change. 

Following the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, the US bureaucrats tried to introduce their version of democracy in the country, with pretty bad results. It is very rarely as a country succeeds in becoming a full-fledged democracy on the orders of an occupying power.

There was a chance after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2006 when Iraq could have gone a different way, but they decision as the American the occupation administration they aggravated already existing tensions in the country and left a terrible memory.

This led to words like "democracy" for the Iraqi people becoming synonymous with corruption and abuse of power. This does not mean that there was no thirst for democracy among the Iraqi people, without the Americans and their allies treatment of the people (before, during and after the occupation) many in the country left disillusioned with the possibility of change through political and democratic means, and opened up to terrible dark forces as IS. 

The word democracy has nevertheless acquired a watered-down meaning here in the Western world, even in content. It's easy to get cynical when you hear politicians throwing around words like democracy in every other sense. But when you see people on the other side of the world risking their lives because they have a genuine longing for it, you realize the explosive potential of concepts that democracy still has.

This is a chronicle. The author is responsible for analysis and opinions in the text.

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