Strength­en­ing Demo­cratic Prin­ci­ples

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Gazi Has­san

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.

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