Civil society and political parties
In Iraq politics is the process of how to organize the different ethnics groups to live together in a society. To build a democratic system, every citizen should participate in the process by freely acquiring information about political issues, by openly expressing their own opinions on public affairs, by formulating expectations, proposals or requirements without fear of repression, by voting in elections, by engaging in free organizations or political parties, or by standing up as a candidate in democratic elections. In this way, democracy can be considered as the government of the people.
Politics in Iraq and in the Kurdistan Region requires ideas and values that set the goals and standards of political organizations. Freedom, justice, liberality are such principles that can guide the political organizations of the society.
Politics in Iraq requires social organizations that defend people's interests and com- municate them to the political and governmental institutions to be realized practically. The political parties, business and workers associations as well as other non- governmental organizations of the civil society are such organizations that collect and aggregate social interests. Politics must take in proposals to discuss, decide upon and implement. The parliament and the government which normally are the product of political parties are the most important institutions in a democratic state. Politics requires active citizens who take part in political discussions, participate with ideas, demands and expectations, and actively contribute to the functioning of the political institutions.
In Iraq, most if not all citizens should be involved in political activities. However, in a direct democracy where every citizen is directly involved in all political decisions is not possible. This is why a modern democracy needs institutions and organizations that represent the will and the interests of the citizens as authentically as possible. These can be associations, informal groups or non-governmental organizations. In particular, the political parties carry out such a representative function. They offer the citizens the possibility to influence politics and the political decisions. They are an important instrument.
Without political parties, a modern representative democracy is not conceivable. The political parties ensure that the citizens are permanently capable of influencing the politics of the country. They articulate and integrate different interests, visions and opinions. They are also the main source for the recruitment of the political elites. There are parties that are conforming to the system, such parties accept the political system in which they are active and try to either stabilize the political order or improve it gradually by reforms. The par- ties that are opposed to the political system do not accept the basic principles of their political system and pursue a change of the system, mostly through aggressive programmatic proposals. Ideologies and specific worldviews are of particular relevance for political parties. Ideologies are comprehensive visions of societies and social developments, which contain explanations, values, and goals for the present and future developments. Ideologies inspire and justify political and social action. They are an essential element for political orientation.
Iraqi political parties rarely correspond completely to one of these classifications. There are fluent transitions and mixed forms. A mass party for instance can also be an interest party if it represents only the interest of a certain social sector.