The Iraqi Elections Delay

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Vice President Al-Hashemi certainly does not represent any Iraqi from any demographic in the country. Rather, he is edged on by Iraq’s neighboring Arab countries, which benefit from a chaotic and unstable Iraq.Iraqis are anxiously waiting for the date of the Iraqi elections, which were held up by tense weeks of wrangling by the Iraqi parliament. A compromise was finally reached several weeks by the divergent political factions, and the elections law was passed by the parliament on November 8. The Iraqi constitution stipulates that such laws must be signed by three figures – the president and his two vice presidents – before it can have any legalistic merit. President Talabani and Vice President Abdel-Mahdi did both sign the law, but Tariq al-Hashemi, who has made no effort to hide his dislike for being referred to as “the Sunni Vice President”, certainly acted the part and vetoed it.

For many political observers and Iraqi citizens, the veto by al-Hashemi is a continued trend in which he displays duality of character. By vetoing the elections law and subsequently sending it back to a fractious parliament, he has also led the election commission to say it has put off preparations for the vote. The situation in Iraq presents a unique predicament, since this is only the second elections in post war Iraq, and the constitution is vehement that the elections take place by January 31. Once again, al-Hashemi has pushed the county back into political turmoil for his own marginalized interests.

While some may sympathize with al-Hashemi’s insistence that the law provided too few seats to Iraqis living abroad, others see ulterior motives. Al-Hashemi claims that the only issue was article one of the law (the status of refugees), but many critics are asking why the same was not done four years ago in the last elections by him. He is also ignoring the millions of internally displaced refugees, created by his own miscreant sectarian tactics. More significantly, in recent months we have witnessed him take on a nationalist role and then also adopting the Kurdish position on the elections law. Interestingly enough, the only two parties who are still supporting a closed system for the vote are the two largest Kurdish parties. More importantly, the new election law advocates an open ballot system where Iraqis can vote for individual candidates. Al-Hashemi attributes much of his political success to the old system that allowed parties such as his to take a free ride at the expense of the political process.

The background for the recent developments in Iraq is at odds. On one hand al-Hashemi is claiming to be the flag bearer for justice for Sunni refugees; on the other, he has also recently left the Tawafuq party and formed his own coalition. However, negotiations are still moving along for him to join the Mutlaq-Allawi alliance in a move that would be a political gamble and cause for alarm among most Iraqis, who are growing increasingly weary of unscrupulous politicians. Iraqi media has also done its share by broadcasting several Sunni Iraqi figures who unequivocally said al-Hashemi does not represent them.

The reality on the ground is fairly apparent. Al-Hashemi certainly does not represent any Iraqi from any demographic in the country. Rather, he is edged on by Iraq’s neighboring Arab countries, which benefit from a chaotic and unstable Iraq. More so, he is also supported by Turkey and its economic energy advancements in Kirkuk, which benefit from its formation into its own state of sorts. It’s a great injustice to the Iraqi people to even assert a person with as many hidden agendas as al-Hashemi represents them. He has consistency worked for his own political advancement at the cost of the Iraqi citizens. If the Iraqi elections are delayed, and this is most likely what will occur, a constitutional void will take place, leading the way for coups and attempts to overthrow the government.

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