De­moc­ra­ti­za­tion Process

Cen­tral to Demo­cratic The­ory and Prac­tice

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Saadula Aqrawi

In Iraq, pol­i­tics that does not nec­es­sar­ily be­long to the tech­ni­cal dis­ci­pline of phi­los­o­phy. Po­lit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy is the ac­tiv­ity whereby the con­cep­tual ap­pa­ra­tus be­hind such con­cepts are an­a­lyzed in terms of their his­tory, in­tent and evo­lu­tion. Democ­racy is par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble when it is new in a na­tion that is just emerg­ing from an ex­tended pe­riod of author­i­tar­ian rule. A new democ­racy can­not guar­an­tee its suc­cess sim­ply by copy­ing a con­sti­tu­tional struc­ture that per­forms well in an es­tab­lished democ­racy.

In a fed­er­a­tion, the com­po­nent states are in some sense sov­er­eign, in­so­far as cer­tain pow­ers are re­served to them that may not be ex­er­cised by the cen­tral govern­ment. How­ever, a fed­er­a­tion is more than a mere loose al­liance of in­de­pen­dent states.

The suc­cess or fail­ure of democ­racy are in­ter­preted as dif­fer­ent equi­lib­ria in a dy­namic po­lit­i­cal game viz-a-viz chang­ing lead­er­ship and in­com­plete in­for­ma­tion about politi­cians’ virtue. Uni­tary democ­racy can be frus­trated when vot­ers do not re­place cor­rupt lead­ers, be­cause any new leader would prob­a­bly also gov­ern cor­ruptly.

The com­po­nent states of a fed­er­a­tion usu­ally pos­sess no pow­ers in re­la­tion to for­eign pol­icy, and so do not en­joy an in­de­pen­dent sta­tus un­der in­ter­na­tional law. This is the case with the new Federal Iraq and the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion.

When games have mul­ti­ple equi­lib­ria, the play­ers’ shared cul­ture be­comes the sys­tem that iden­ti­fies which equi­lib­rium they will ac­tu­ally ex­pect to play. The anal­y­sis must there­fore take into ac­count ways in which the lo­cal cul­ture in any new democ­racy may be ex­pected to dif­fer from the cul­tures of es­tab­lished democ­ra­cies.

How­ever, federal democ­racy can­not be con­sis­tently frus­trated at both na­tional and provin­cial lev­els, be­cause provin­cial lead­ers who gov­ern re­spon­si­bly could build rep­u­ta­tions to be­come con­tenders for higher na­tional of­fice. Sim­i­larly, democ­racy can­not be con­sis­tently frus­trated in a de­moc­ra­ti­za­tion process that be­gins with de­cen­tral­ized provin­cial democ­racy and only later in­tro­duces na­tion­ally elected lead­er­ship.

The do­min­ions in the New World con­sisted of au­ton­o­mous prov­inces, trans­formed to federal states upon in­de­pen­dence. The old­est con­tin­u­ous fed­er­a­tion, and a role model for many sub­se­quent fed­er­a­tions, is the United States of Amer­ica. Some of the New World fed­er­a­tions failed, the Federal Repub­lic of Cen­tral Amer­ica broke up into in­de­pen­dent states 10 years af­ter its found­ing.

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