Plans for Iraq's Transition
Thursday, June 5, 2003
Coalition administration in Iraq has decided to select a
group of 25-30 Iraqis to form a political council
and to convene a national assembly that will write the country's
constitution. The details of the council and assembly are
unknown, with some sources saying that the political council
will only have
an advisory role.
the writing of the constitution, and to a lesser extent,
the political council represent the key foundations for
the new Iraq. These must be done correctly to allow Iraq
to progress towards genuine democracy.
constitution is set to be written by a national assembly.
For Iraqis to feel that they are involved in the shaping
of their future and that they will have a genuine democracy
that gives them true freedom and liberty then certain conditions
for its formation must be met:
national assembly must be directly elected by the people.
The assembly must proportionally represent the people
of Iraq and they must feel they are involved in writing
the constitution so that it addresses their needs and
wishes. This will also create a sense of loyalty and allegiance
to the constitution by all Iraqis, which has never existed
before. This will guarantee the country's stability and
this, the national assembly should at least be elected
by the local councils.
Instead of general elections, the local councillors that
are being formed for each city are told to select between
themselves representatives for the national assembly.
Again proportional representation of all ethnicities is
vital, so that all Iraqis feel they are correctly represented
in the council. This is not a completely satisfactory
solution, but if general elections are impossible then
this represents the minimum to create a constitution that
will be respected and adhered to by Iraqis.
participants should be required to adhere to the Nassiriyah
Principals and to the creation of a democratic, pluralistic
other consideration in writing the constitution is the conditions
under which it is done. It should not be done under occupation
since this will smear Iraq's democracy for decades to come
and will not become a favourable democratic model for the
rest of the Middle East since Arabs are very sensitive to
formalities. The constitution will always be identified
as being written under occupation and, whether true or not,
will be regarded as being forced upon Iraq. This point relates
directly with the next, namely, the rule of Iraq during
plans to scrap the Baghdad conference and to just handpick
people for the Political Council does not really represent
a drastic change in policy since the council would have
always been selected rather than elected. While the Coalition
administration in Iraq is saying that Iraqis will be selected
based on their qualifications rather than who they are,
this does not negate the requirement for the council to
be proportionally representative of Iraq's population. Anything
less would symbolise the continuation of minority rule.
the power that the council will have and the name to which
it is referred will greatly influence the way it is perceived
by Iraqis. There is already great tension inside Iraq due
to the lack of a national Iraqi government.
If the council is set to have only an advisory role, as
some reports have indicated, then this will be a recipe
powers will take full advantage by playing into people's
dissatisfaction with the situation. They may arm and fund
political powers, which might send the situation into
move may alienate the vast majority of political groups
and make Iraq's transition towards democracy very difficult.
The basic key to success is for Iraqis to be at least seen
to be determining their own future and for every process
to proportionally represent Iraq's population. Only then
can Iraq become a strong model of democracy for the rest
of the Middle East.