Strengthening Democratic Principles
Democracy in Kurdistan is still in the making. The elections and people’s direct voting for choosing their representatives in the Parliament and Provincial councils are one of the crucial and solid moves on which democracy can be established. In the April 30 elections, calmer than other elections, people of Kurdistan participated directly far from any pressure. Moreover, a suitably free atmosphere had been provided for the media and the publishing establishments. If this atmosphere is wellorganized more effectively and turned into a permanent system through legal means in which public interest and people’s psychological state are taken into consideration, then democracy would flourish. We should bear in mind that respecting and improving condition of women and children’s rights demonstrate another aspect of the community in the sense of dominance of a system and a political path. Democracy here has become slogans of political parties, people and the media. Moreover, authorities in Kurdistan Region think seriously of this matter. So everyone feels the significance and importance of democracy, without its implemented principles, the society will be thrown into uncertainty.
Representatives of 28 UE countries visited the Kurdistan Region on 8 April and met with the Kurdistan Region Presidency and the Council of Ministers. They intended to discuss the development and enhancement of the democratic principles across Iraq starting from Kurdistan, because even if there were doubts or mini-questions regarding counting votes technically in Kurdistan, there hasn’t been any doubt about the genuine voting process and people’s rights in the elections, which we’re happy about. We cannot say the process can be compared to those in the developed countries. Nonetheless, the bright aspects of the process are: the participation of the various political parties in the election campaigns, their participation in criticizing and even insulting one another, disclosing some details for winning over their opponents and then the participation rate of their supporters in the voting. In addition, not excluding any party or their candidates in the election, absence of any kind of pressure during the process and changes of votes’ rate are the clear evidence that democracy has taken root in Kurdistan. Ms Yana Hybeskova, the EU ambassador to Iraq said: “We’re here to confirm that there is a strategic relation between the European Union, Iraq and the Kurdistan Region” and then she said that the elections carried out in Kurdistan were democratic and she considered the democratic process in the Kurdistan Region sets a good example for the Middle East.
This view will strengthen the political and diplomatic position of Kurdistan in the future. This stands in sharp contrast to the outcome and the process in the rest of Iraq. The Iraqi so-called democracy with non-commitment to share power with other partners, the interest in dictatorial methods of governing, intentions to form a government through the majority, all of these mean excluding the participation and decision of the main and vital components of the Iraqi society. In addition, the worsening of the economy and the rising of the unem- ployment, politicizing the major sectors of power like the army and the police further darken the future of the Iraqi people.
In the meeting, President Barzani insisted on the fact that Kurds must be partners in Iraq, no one should think he is a ruler and others are not rightful citizen and should obey him, or wants to rule with the majority and minority logic. It means that if Iraq wants to implement federalism and respect the constitution, it should be committed to the partnership of the Kurds and other parties and should further develop the principles of federalism and democracy. The era of domineering and dominance is gone. Kurds will never accept other than full-time citizen. It’s been three quarters of a century that the Iraqi successive regimes, which England first established on unfair basis, oppressing the Kurds.
In this era, Kurdistan needs democracy and building aspects of civil society and improving the concept of citizenship more than any time. The European Union can play an effective role in developing and building the principles of a democratic society and the democratic institutions. The best step for achieving this is the peaceful handing over of power, preparing the ground for all political parties and civil society components and people to participate in the political decision and forming a civil authority with politically active and self-confident citizens. The EU can help to improve the civil rights of women and children, raising the awareness of human rights and basic rights in accordance with the international laws.
If some parties even minimize democracy in rights of the parties, they have to be respected in spite of that. If a citizen thinks his life should be organized, he should be heard. If a group think its rights are violated, its rights should be respected. If a political party isn’t ready to accept losing in an election, it should be helped out, so as to be relieved from the pain of losing. The best society will be the one free of political, social and cultural violence. So co-existence, democracy, religious freedom and ethnic rights in Kurdistan are socially preserved. Kurdistan is considered as a new fledgling democracy in the Middle East. This is democracy, a party of a group, far from opposition’s violence, criticize and agree on all government policies between two elections.
That is why the KRG Prime Minister during his meeting with the 28 European countries’ delegation on 8 April said that the Kurdistan Region intends to tighten the principles of democracy and develop the institutions, and therefore it’s in need of constant support from the European Union so that it can achieve its goals.
Politically it is of great importance that Kurdistan urgently considers the institutionalizing of the government and the administration as well. This could be achieved only through a set of shared tenets that includes: no party should think of using the power by itself; people’s will is respected and competition for position should be based on qualifications and the need to serve people and improving the quality of life of the citizens of our beloved Kurdistan.