The Price of Democracy in Iraq

  • 9 March 2010

Iraqis have paid a heavy price for their determination to participate in the process of building their own future, removing obstacles to democracy and overcoming a dark phase with prospects of security and coexistence. This has happened despite attempts by terrorists to prevent millions of Iraqis from taking part in the parliamentary elections which were held on Sunday. The attacks left 38 dead and more than 110 injured. Despite such acts of terrorism and threats of violence, official estimates say the voter turnout in the elections exceeded 62 percent, which confirms Iraqi people’s belief in their ability to improve the situation and their willingness to work for their own future, regardless of the difficulties and risks involved. Ballot box is the way through which Iraqis can achieve a peaceful and democratic arrangement governed by policies and programs away from the brutality of violence that they have suffered from in recent years.

The sacrifices made by Iraqis during these elections and their success in not allowing themselves to be blackmailed by Al-Qaeda threats are the results of a positive and brave spirit they embody. This has also sent out an important message to political parties in the country and has made them realize the importance of working together in a way that the sacrifices do not go in vain and the country doesn’t return to the days of violence and conflict. The post-election period is important for Iraq and the country can only succeed by initiating dialog, promoting coexistence and practicing non-sectarianism by building national consensus, especially in the wake of the enormous challenges it faces in the future. The need of the hour is a government based on national reconciliation that is stable and effective and is capable of taking the country on the path of progress as is desired by Iraqi people. This will be a step towards national reconciliation which has been floundering in the face of transition from a period of sectarian divide to another phase invoking the real meaning of Iraqi nationhood that based on security and stability.

The parliamentary elections will provide an appropriate environment for the Iraqis to deal with the many other challenges facing the country and will help in fulfilling their hopes for the country’s speedy reconstruction, settlement of pending disputes – especially those related to Kirkuk – the affirmation of Iraq’s sovereignty over its territories and its readiness to thwart any interference in its internal affairs.

Iraqi political forces have, in their own way, consented to a peaceful political settlement and the voters have exercised their franchise in accordance to a constitutional and legal framework. It is now important to respect this framework and discuss all the disputes within this framework in the days to come and not take the country back to the days of violence, whatever the reason may be. Iraqi people have demonstrated courage by facing terrorist attacks, and going out  to vote in large numbers despite the threat of violence, because they want to see Iraq more stable and on the path of progress.