Time for Iraq to end impasse

Iraq’s absentia parliament has finally been summoned. The country’s Supreme Court has ordered the newly elected parliamentarians to get back to work, ending their self-declared absence with immediate effect.

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Published: Tue 26 Oct 2010, 9:33 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:48 PM

This is a welcome development. It comes at a time when the delaying tactics adopted by both the coalitions, in forming the next government, had plunged the future of democracy in uncertainty. It is no less than a mystery and a world record of sorts that Iraqi parliament had been in limbo sarcastically awaiting for the politicians to decide its future line of action. The irony is that Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki despite grabbing the support of radical Shia legislators of Iran-backed Muqteda Al Sadr had not been able to form his new cabinet. This governance dilemma cannot be carried on for long, especially at times when the war-weary country is in a transition period, as foreign forces are at the verge of abdicating their role.

This political deadlock since March 7 has literally diluted the achievements made in providing apt local governance and fighting terrorism. Maliki and his rival Iyad Allawi, who had won the major share of seats in the parliament, had unfortunately preferred politics of exigency to national interests. Though Maliki had preached and professed national reconciliation, its implementation has been in wanting. What Iraq needs is political stability and consistency of approach. It is widely feared that this governance vacuum could be exploited by sinister elements by questioning the writ of the government, and its ability to address peoples’ grievances. Al Qaeda and the like already had been active on a recruitment drive, making inroads in communities that are reeling under poverty and misgovernance. It remains to be seen how serious politicians and elected representatives take this court’s directive, which is not a ruling in essence.

This unfinished episode of government forming has already given birth to many complications. The country’s parliament is supposed to name presidential candidates, and elect the new head of state. This prevailing syndrome of inertia in Iraq has almost nullified the desires and aspirations of its people to see a hyper-assertive representative government as a departure from the despotic rule of yesteryears. The parliament and politicians are failing in their duty to deliver and represent issues that are close to the heart of the nation. The more and more the government is bogged down in administrative affairs, it will lose sight of an agenda that cannot be ignored, come-what-may. Iraq’s territorial integrity and sovereignty are at their crossroads, and this cannot be addressed with an ad hoc and bickering dispensation at work. The court has just brought to fore the simmering unrest among the people and the threat that infant democracy faces at the moment. It is mandatory upon politicians to rise above petty interests before it’s too late.

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