Attitudes Towards Democracy
by Ali Latif
Full Report (English)
for the Future
can be concluded from the preliminary findings of this poll
is that there exists broad support for democracy to establish
itself in Iraq, and furthermore there is strong expectation
and a desire for its consolidation within the next few years.
However these results have also highlighted the lack of
in-depth understanding of the term democracy on the part
of students. There is poor recognition of what are considered
essential components of democracy as well as a perception
that democratic characteristics, such as the existence of
multiple opinions or political trends within a society,
are synonymous with a country's instability.
were differences noted between the regions included in the
survey with higher percentages of respondents agreeing with
the superiority of democracy the more south you went. Attitudes
relating towards the relationship of religion and state
also differed with more students favoring a secular state
in Basra and Baghdad than in Mosul. This may reflect a slight
difference between Sunni and Shi'i attitudes.
seems as though the majority of students are quite happy
to support the idea of democracy taking root in the country
and furthermore they expect this to take place in the near
future. However, when it comes to awareness of what democratization
entails, there is significantly less understanding.
enthusiasm for democracy that this poll has demonstrated
must be seized upon to develop a more in-depth understanding
amongst young Iraqis. There is a clear need for programs
that serve to inform and educate young Iraqis about the
essential components of democracy and the steps needed to
be taken to construct a viable democratic state and civil
society. A deeper understanding amongst young Iraqis will
extend the roots of democracy and strengthen the country's
commitment and resolve to see this through in the face of
the continuing hardships.
parts of this poll might paint a somewhat grim picture for
the establishment and consolidation of democracy in Iraq,
one has to bear in mind that these young students have never
experienced genuine democracy or a pluralistic civil society.
The real desire and expectation for democracy to work in
this country, seen in the survey, demonstrates that Iraq
is fertile for successful democratization. However, without
sustained efforts to build-up civil society and serious
work to develop people's understanding of democracy and
democratic values, especially amongst young Iraqi men and
women whom Iraq's democratic hopes rest on, then democratization