Iraq: Preparing for a National Unity Government

12-28-05, 9:05 am

Statement of the Political Bureau - Central Committee of the Iraqi Communist Party

Our people went to the elections on 15th December 2005 with the hope that it would constitute an important juncture along the path of restoring security and stability, as well as for mapping a democratic path not only for the Iraqi people, but also for the peoples of the region. They also hoped that the elections would open up prospects for tackling the crises that successive governments, since getting rid of the dictatorial regime, had failed to deal with or adopt policies reassuring Iraqi citizens, who had suffered prolonged agony, that there would be light at the end of the tunnel.

The elections were significant as a political and legal obligation, marking the completion of the transitional stage of the political process. The elected parliament, with a full term of 4 years, will take on tasks relating to the constitution and its possible amendments, as well as enacting a host of legislation. Such tasks, taken together, will draw the features of Iraq’s present and future.

It was natural, therefore, that these elections would witness intense competition among political lists and entities. They acquired greater importance given the participation of all parts of Iraq, thus making it possible that a balanced parliament would emerge, reflecting the structure of the Iraqi people, with their political, ideological, ethnic, religious and denominational diversity. Such a parliament would, it was hoped, also create a climate of confidence and calm and help to restore security and stability.

Unfortunately, however, from the early stages, the election campaign witnessed many obstacles and violations. This was also true of the polling day itself. These violations included threatening voters and preventing them from going to the ballot box, killing several candidates and political activists, and the infringement of the supposed neutrality of state organs, especially the security forces. All these practices beleaguered the elections and their potential for heralding a proper democratic life anchored on well-founded institutions.

During the various stages of the election process, many lists and political organisations submitted numerous complaints to the Electoral Commission. The latter, however, seemed indifferent and attempted in various ways to belittle the gravity of these complaints. It has gone as far as openly stating that complaints are voiced by the vanquished, despite being aware that some of those who made such complaints did not fit this label. The Electoral Commission did not take any effective measures, despite announcing that there are “red complaints” that could affect the outcome of the elections. Instead of investigating the complaints and dealing with them in a serious and transparent manner, the Electoral Commission announced, against normal and expected procedure, partial results that were not endorsed, and it was forced later to amend its figures. All this took place in a climate of apprehension, deep concern, tension and anger, thus only making things worse.

The stance adopted by the Government and its apparatus was also disappointing. It did not act or utter even a word,let alone investigate attacks that targeted the offices of well-known parties and organisations, including our Communist Party. It also failed to pursue the murderers and those who stand behind them, and bring them to justice. All this, and other aspects, indicate that the Government did not fulfil its duty to provide protection and security and do its best to ensure the success of the electoral process.

All these practices and violations not only constitute a blatant violation of citizens’ political rights and their freedom of choice as envisaged in the constitution. They also threaten to demolish the hopes pinned by the Iraqis on the elections. With 11 million people turning out to vote, this was potentially a historical juncture which could restore national unity and lay a solid foundation for the national democratic state encompassing the full spectrum of the Iraqi people. The people were looking forward to the setting up of a full time legitimate government that would undertake the huge tasks crucial to building a prosperous, independent, democratic and federal Iraq.

Driven by a sense of responsibility towards the fate of the homeland, and to avert the dangers of a deep political crisis that are too grave for present day Iraq, impelled by the state of tension and impasse caused by the announcement of partial and unapproved results by the Electoral Commission, the Iraqi Communist Party calls upon all the political forces and parties to recognise the gravity of the current challenges, rise above narrow interests, and work earnestly to find solutions for the looming crisis caused by electoral violations. In this respect, our Party calls upon all the relevant sides, especially the Independent Higher Electoral Commission, and the UN, who a bear responsibility in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions, to undertake the following steps:

1- To consider the partial election results that have been announced as suspended.

2- To conduct an honest and transparent investigation of the complaints and appeals made by political lists and entities, and to cancel the ballot boxes that are considered suspect.

3- To repeat the process of vote counting and check the ballot forms, starting with Baghdad and covering all areas where violations are confirmed.

4- To take a clear position with regard to the violations on the basis of the outcome of investigation and vote recount. Perpetrators of these violations, and those behind them, must be condemned and made responsible, legally, politically and morally, for defying the law and infringing upon citizens rights.

The speedy implementation of these measures will help to calm down the atmosphere and diffuse the state of tension, and to embark upon serious meetings and discussions that encompass all political currents and constituents, along the path of setting up a national unity government. This requires abandoning the policy of sharing power along sectarian and ethnic lines, and attempts to marginalize, exclude and eliminate others, regardless of any pretext.

Let us join together in building our Iraq; a homeland for all, that is fully sovereign, where the values of citizenship and national unity are supreme, so that the people could enjoy security, peace and democracy.

The Political Bureau - Central Committee Iraqi Communist Party 24-12-2005