Thursday, January 19, 2006

The international team's report concurs with the election committee's report.

The interior ministry announced a new wide security plan for Baghdad and several other regions that are considered “hot”.
The plan, run in coordination with the defense ministry began yesterday as part of the precautions being taken to avoid and control anticipated surge in violence after the announcement of the investigation team’s report and the final election results.
The plan was evident on the streets with more checkpoints and roadblocks all over Baghdad, Yesterday I wasn’t even able to get to my clinic because the street was blocked and I spent two hours stuck in a traffic jam before I could find a U turn and go back to home.
This security plan has also included sealing entire towns like Fallujah which will have all its entrances and exits closed for three days started yesterday.
Unfortunately, this plan couldn’t stop the terrorists from performing two bloody suicide attacks in Baghdad.

The investigation team released their report today. I couldn’t find the full version or any significant amount of details but local media here reported that the report indicated that violations and fraud were insignificant and couldn’t affect the results of the elections in a major way.
But, this morning, al-Sabah ran a story that quotes from a source close to the investigation team. The story mentions that this anonymous source said that the investigation team found that 7 seats will have to be taken away from certain lists because fraud was detected. The three lists are the UIA, Accord Front and the Dialogue Front led by al-Mutlaq and according to the same report, fraud incidents in questions took place in Baghdad, Basra, Mosul, Kirkuk, Diyala and Anbar.

Although the international team’s report played down allegations of massive fraud voiced by Sunni parties and former PM Allawi’s list, I expect those parties to be relatively satisfied with what the report has shown since their main goal recently was to prove that fraud has taken place regardless of the extent and then they can use this fact to support their rejection for the idea of the UIA of forming a national unity government that takes election results into consideration. What the Sunni and Allawi want is to form a national unity government based on population percentages.

On yesterday, Jalal Talabani said that negotiations among political parties have stopped and won’t be resumed until the election commission uncovers the final results. The final results are expected to be revealed tomorrow and then there will be a two-day period to receive objections. Those objections will be reviewed by a transitional electoral committee and if the objections found invalid, results shall be approved within two days but if objections found valid, this committee will have ten days to study those objections and announced the approved results.

So, we are expecting to see the results tomorrow and mosques will bring the first reaction of corresponding blocs to today’s report while reactions from politicians will start coming later tomorrow or the day after and I hope they react in a reasonable way and avoid overreactions.

Actually one of our biggest problems is the lack of trust between the different parties and more dangerous is the little trust the parties have in democracy.
This trust crisis is what causes those irrational reactions.
The Shia politicians, although they are the biggest winners in the elections are still behaving like victims and they worry about whether this or that Sunni candidate was part of the Ba’ath party. And the same applies to the Sunni who are afraid of Shia domination despite the fact that their (the Sunni) parties will control nearly 30% of the parliament and there’s no chance they can be marginalized again.
Not only that, both sides say they’re being conspired upon by the others. This lack of trust will keep being a problem for Iraq…I’m not expecting politicians to trust each other but I hope they mature to trust democracy.

Iraqis-whether politicians or ordinary citizens-are yet to fully understand democracy but to be fair, one should not put all the blame on them; democracy takes time…democracy is a process, not an event.

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