Iraq: Statement of the Worker-communist Party of Iraq on the Parliament’s Endorsement of the Election Law

Although we do not necessarily agree with every position of the Worker-communist Party of Iraq, we are making available one of their latest statements which highlights the sectarian logic behind the latest electoral reform in Iraq where people will be represented in parliament according to their ethnic background rather than their political affiliations. This helps to strengthen and deepen ethnic conflict, not solve it.

After more than ten marathon sessions and repetitive failures to endorse an election law, the fierce struggle among the sectarian and ethnocentric forces ended in passing a sectarian and ethnocentric election law. This law is a continuation of the ongoing political process, which started with the occupation of Iraq.

The issue of Kirkuk was an obstacle before endorsing the law. It was an obstacle before reaching an agreement and a major cause of conflict among sectarian Arab and Kurd ethnocentric forces. This was the struggle among forces and political currents for dividing their shares in wealth, oil, power, and influence and to slaughter the residents of this city in their ugly interests. It is the struggle to impose identities and repulsive and anti-human sentiments against all the residents of the city of Kirkuk. The goals of this strife have nothing to do with the lives, security and prosperity of the residents of the city.

This infamous law came into existence as a result of secret agreements and compromises among sectarian and ethnocentric forces and compromises between Malki and Barzani with the brokering role of America and its ambassador to Austria.

This law clearly reflects the interests of the forces and parliamentarian blocks, which do not represent the masses of Iraq. It represents the forces which have thrown the masses into the inferno of sectarian fighting, killings on ethnic and sectarian grounds, forced displacement, detention on the basis of groundless allegations and tragedies and suffering during the last six years.

This law was endorsed without any intervention or say by the masses and without listening to the voice of the representatives of worker’s, women’s and youth organizations. This law was forged by the current sectarian and ethnocentric parliament and presidential council to maintain and consolidate divisions on a religious and ethnic basis. It reflects the interests and struggle among regional and international forces and their influence on the course of politics in Iraq.

This law denies the Iraqi citizens the right to intervene in the elections as citizens who vote for the candidates according to economic, political and social programs that they aspire to. It pushes them to vote for political identities on the basis of ethnic and sectarian affiliation.

We in the Worker-communist Party of Iraq have put forward our standards and criteria for a free election which guarantees a conscious and free participation by the masses away from any form of blackmail, bribed votes and violence or terrorism against voters. The law said nothing about using these methods, which are unacceptable in any election recognized as real and free in the contemporary world. There was no mention of prohibiting the forces of Sunni and Shiite political Islam and Arab and Kurd ethnocentric groups from deepening religious and ethnic bigotry during the election and influencing the voters on this basis.

We believe that endorsing this law on the basis of multiple electoral districts is a policy intentionally designed to be compatible with the ethnic, tribal and sectarian system imposed on Iraq today. This was adopted to firmly establish the current political situation and the new coalitions recently formed and to meet the opposing interests and strategies of America, Iran and other regional states.

Obviously the cities in Iraq from Zaxo in the north to Fao in the south are cities occupied by armed militia. Ethnic and sectarian militias have an upper hand in determining the result of the elections even before they have taken place. As the cities are divide according to the current political process into Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish cities, that is to say according to ethnic and sectarian identities, the result of the elections is decided in advance in favor of forces which control the power in these cities through violence and militias. Such a law is a blatant perpetuation of power-sharing on an ethnic and sectarian basis, which is fiercely denied by the Islamic and ethnocentric forces in their election campaigns. This law destroys the principle of equal citizenship.

The masses in Iraq insisted on endorsement of an open list voting system so that they know the candidates in the election. However, this achievement was made void by adopting the multiple electoral districts system. Voting according to the multiple electoral districts in the current situation in Iraq achieves the goals of the ethnocentric and sectarian forces that depend on tribal, ethnocentric and sectarian militias. This system is totally against the interests of workers and other civilized and freedom loving people in Iraq who do not identify themselves on sectarian and tribal lines.

Regarding “descendents” of Christianity, Sebean, Yazidi and Shabak as “minorities” is the continuation of the sectarian and ethnocentric policies that the Islamic and ethnocentric parties have built their rule on. It contradicts the principle of equal citizenship and representation on a political and civil basis.

The decision to grant unoccupied seats to the victorious lists and granting them to the sectarian and ethnocentric blocks against the will of the voters themselves is blatant piracy. It is brazen disregard for the view and vote of people and the parties that participate in the election. Regardless of other parts of this law, this article is a clear and intentional disregard for the will of voters and parties who participate in the election, which is unacceptable.

Keeping the age of candidacy at 30 deprives millions of youth from representation in Parliament. This is a regressive step in the struggle of people who have made headway in endorsing the age of 18 as the age of voting and candidacy. Also making a high school certificate a condition to accept candidacy denies large number of workers the right to nominate themselves as candidates.

The result of the election, if conducted according to this law, will be a knockout blow to the rights and endeavors of the masses who try to build a non-ethnocentric and non-sectarian political regime based on the will of the voters and their rights as civil citizens. The new election law is a blow to the endeavor to build a political system aimed to provide a better atmosphere to further the struggle of masses of people and to advance the political struggle of the working class.

With regard to the parliament, the system which serves the basic aspirations of the masses in Iraq is the open voting list, regarding Iraq as one electoral district, not granting votes of the parties who have not achieved the minimum quota to any other party, endorsing the age of 18 as the legal age for voting and candidacy and securing conditions and circumstances suitable to hold elections where no form of blackmail, terrorism and bribed voting takes places.

We strongly condemn this law, which is also totally condemned and rejected by the masses of people in Iraq including all socialist, leftist, progressive and secular forces. We call on the masses to firmly stand against this law and to launch a wide political and mass struggle to abolish it. The law is today before the presidential council, if it is adopted in the current form the Worker-communist party of Iraq will have a different stand on the coming elections.

Political Bureau
Worker-communist Party of Iraq

11th November 2009