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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

24 January 2005

Iraqi Party Platforms Call for Pluralism, National Unity

Platforms reveal political philosophies on good governance

By David Shelby
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington – National unity, federalism, pluralism, tolerance and democracy are the political language in which Iraqi parties are framing their appeals to voters.

The United Iraqi Alliance states these principles upfront in its party platform, calling for “a constitutional, pluralistic, democratic, federal, united Iraq. 

The Gathering of Independent Democrats also touches on these ideas in the statement of its goals.  According to its platform, the party “embraces cooperation with democratic Iraqi powers in securing democratic concepts, in the peaceful alternation of power, and in building a country of laws and institutions.

It goes on to affirm the need to respect “the equality of Iraqis before the law regardless of their social, ethnic, religious or sectarian background and to respect others’ opinions and the rights of minorities to express themselves.

The need for open and peaceful civil dialogue is addressed in many of the political parties’ platforms.

“Our country cannot restore its vitality or strengthen its supports without a ruling spirit of tolerance between different groups, and the language of democratic dialogue between the political powers, the Communist Party platform states. 

It continues, “A variety of opinions is a natural phenomenon and ought to be respected.  And everyone must respect the freedom of the people to choose, without threat of violence or hatred, between proposals and programs set forth in elections and referendums.

The Liberal Democratic Party of Iraq highlights the value of this free exchange of ideas for the future of the country.  “The difference of opinions is a healthy state that enriches proposals and ideas and consequently deepens the democratic experiment in Iraq and provides it with greater experience, its party platform states.

At the core of pluralism and federalism is a respect for the rights of minorities and many of the parties seeking votes in the January 30 elections speak to this issue.

The United Iraqi Alliance calls for “an Iraq that respects human rights and does not discriminate on the grounds of sect, religion or ethnicity, an Iraq that protects the rights of religious and ethnic minorities and defends them from oppression and marginalization.

The Communist Party specifically calls for federalist arrangements to ensure the cultural and administrative rights for all ethnic groups.

None of the parties are calling for a division of the country.  The Gathering of Independent Democrats affirms that “Iraq is a cultural and historic unit, formed over hundreds of years.  Even the minority Turkoman Nationalist Movement “rejects any division based on ethnicity or sect, in its electoral program.

The parties focus on the mechanisms of the state with the goal of “establishing a country of rights and justice, as the Islamic Conference of Iraqi Tribes envisions in its platform.

The Gathering of Independent Democrats says that it “aspires to build a state based on elected, legal constitutional institutions and the principle of the separation of powers.

Chief among the parties’ preoccupations with regard to state institutions is the judiciary.  Several parties echo the goal of the Iraqi National Accord to achieve a completely independent judiciary.  This is in reaction to Iraq’s experience under the rule of Saddam Hussein, where judicial decisions were typically influenced by pressure from the regime.

Other parties present a broader perspective on state institutions.  The National Message Party outlines its vision of a properly functioning Iraqi state in its platform calling for “the peaceful alternation of power through free and fair elections and the separation of the three branches of government: the legislative, the judicial and the executive.

The parties also recognize the importance of eliminating corruption as part of a plan to ensure good governance.  “Prosecuting administrative corruption is a legal and national duty, claims the Islamic Conference of Iraqi Tribes.

The United Iraqi Alliance pledges “to work on establishing the principles of honesty, trustworthiness and a sense of accountability in official agencies and institutions, and to work on tackling administrative corruption and bribery in all its forms.

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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