Iraq is expecting parliamentary election on October 10. Iraq election will be held in a condition that the presence of foreign troops inside the country exhausted the hopes for basic reforms in political and economic infrastructures.
Baghdad is conducting an early election in days in following the major public dissatisfaction emerging in the form of demonstrations two years ago. There are calls for a boycott due to scattered skepticism over the possibility of a change towards improvement. A pandemic-devastated economic infrastructure has led to further disappointment in recent years.
Despite all obstacles, there are still reasons for optimism. The key target of the 2019 protests, which devoured the country from north to south, was holding early election. The realization of the public demand shows the society and policy-making body is on the right trail; at least partly.
The aim was that the newly enacted Iraq election regulations would elicit a stronger reaction from the previously estranged individuals. The new laws basically shift politicians’ emphasis to smaller districts. A great majority of participants in the demonstrations were from these regions.
However, many protestors have kept claiming that a failure of systemic transparency in mostly incompetent system leaves little chance for any genuine change to solve the challenges. Iraq has just passed over more than twenty years of violence and war. Starting from the US invasion in 2003, the country ran along long years of battle against the ISIS terrorist group.
Despite scattered calls for boycotting the Iraq election, the public majority is advocating for democratic changes through an early election. Iraq has endured long years of occupation and the way to independence goes through democratic reforms.
The large public dissatisfaction with the administrative functioning in recent years must be rooted in political and economic dependence of Iraq to foreign forces.
Iraq Election; An Attempt towards Reform
“Our dear Iraqi people. For the sake of yours & your children’s future, I urge you to get your voter registration cards. Your votes are a responsibility that shouldn’t go to waste. Those wanting reform & change should aim for a high voter turnout. Your votes are the future of Iraq”. This is a recent tweet by Iraqi prime minister urging to people to take part in Iraq election.
Middle East countries has long suffered from dictatorships and kingdoms, mainly in Arab nation. Iraq is one of the forerunners in holding public elections to overcome the democratic and societal challenges. The shortages in reforming the society to the benefit of democracy had effectively led to dependence, and oppression, by western intruders.
As such, the failure of democratic practices opens the vacuum for foreign actors in societies like Iraq. The US invaded Iraq under the pretext of holding weapons of mass destruction by former dictator Saddam Hossein.
While playing the role of a supporter for boosting democracy, historic experience has proved that western countries seek nothing more than weak dictators in the Middle East. A glimpse on the two-decade practice of US in Afghanistan clearly shows the tendency.
In such a condition, local actors, besides some unaware public, voice the call for boycotting the election. Intentionally or unintentionally, these groups are playing in the rival’s team further facilitating the condition for foreign actors. As an Iraqi political researcher explains, “instead of voting, they (boycotters) want to stay out of the system and call for the complete overhaul of the system.”
Iraq election on October 10 may provide the chance for basic reforms along with the withdrawal of foreign forces. Arab citizens residing in countries like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain regret having such an opportunity.