Monday, 31 January 2011

Iraqi CP - Excerpts from the Communiqué of the Central Committee

Excerpts from the Communiqué of the Meeting of the
Central Committee of the Iraqi Communist Party

• Crisis of government formation reflects a broader crisis of the political system .. and threatens the prospect of the political process
• A Democratic Current, playing an active role in political life and decision-making, is more necessary than ever before

The Central Committee of the Iraqi Communist Party held a meeting on 5th November 2010 devoted to discussing the developments in the country in its various aspects since the previous meeting that was held last April. The meeting focused above all on issues of the political crisis, the harm caused by the delay in forming the government, the security situation, the suffering of people as a result of deteriorating living conditions and public services, the growing popular protest movement, and the progress of efforts to rally the forces of the Democratic Current and unify their capabilities.
The following are some of the main points in the Communiqué issued by the Central Committee meeting:
The failure of the lists that won the elections to reach agreements necessary to form a new government has raised legitimate questions about the real dimensions of the crisis facing the country.
This crisis has revealed the serious elements of weakness and faults in the political process, in the process of rebuilding state institutions, and in the constitutional mechanisms that govern the work of the executive and legislative branches.
A closer look at the roots of this crisis, and seeking to determine the conditions and the factors that led to its emergence and continuation, reveals, in the final analysis, that it is a concrete reflection and embodiment of the crisis in the system of government itself which was produced by the political process.
Accordingly, it is the duty of all the forces that desire the continuation of the political process until it achieves its goal of building an independent unified democratic federal civil state, to take into account the task of reforming the political process, after conducting a critical review of the institutional frameworks and structures that it produced, and the rules and practices it has been based upon.
The political stalemate caused by the inconclusive results of the recent elections has resulted not only from the shortcomings and negative aspects that accompanied the electoral process, but also from the continued dominance of sub-identities - sectarian, tribal and ethnic - in the setting up and formation of dominant political blocs, and in guiding the behavior and choices of voters, at the expense of political programs and considerations of competence, integrity and loyalty of candidates.
In the name of so-called "balance" between "components" in the distribution of higher posts in the state, sectarian and ethnic power-sharing has been consolidated in building state institution.
Grave implications of power-sharing system
The Central Committee meeting drew attention to the grave implications of adopting this power-sharing system in state-building, as reflected in the fragmentation in the work of ministries, the lack of harmony within them, the difficulty in developing common visions and decision-making, poor overall performance, the emergence of different centers of power, the creation of an environment conducive to the spread of financial and administrative corruption, the violation of the principle of citizenship and equal rights of citizens, and other negative manifestations.
With the prolongation of the crisis and the intensification of deadlock and growing political tension, despite all the parties declaring their desire to work together within a participatory government, anxiety in society increased as a result of the continued political and constitutional vacuum, while the economic situation worsened.
This deep concern turned into anger, and this found its expression in a variety of protest movements that held actions in Baghdad and several provinces.
The competing dominant forces each behaved in a similar manner by sticking to their interests and share of power, influence and spoils, and defending them tenaciously, even if this led to exposing the country’s security and interests to grave threats.
These forces were not prepared to reconsider their positions, despite the dangers of further deterioration of security, the paralysis of economic life and worsening public services.
Blatant external interference
These forces did not hesitate to accept the blatant interference by neighboring states and some international powers, and to seek deals with them, even going as far as pleading with them, in utter disregard of national sovereignty.
The crisis brought to light, on the other hand, the gap between words and deeds of the dominant forces.
The continuation of the crisis, with its accompanying violation of the Constitution and circumventing the will of the voters, will undermine citizens’ trust in the electoral process and weaken their respect for the Constitution. It also encourages the promotion once again of coup-type and unconstitutional solutions.
In light of the above, the present deadlock only seems to be a natural outcome. Meanwhile, a legitimate question is raised: whether this situation can produce a solution, and lead to the formation of a government free of the faults of its predecessors and their weakness, shortcomings and failures.
Possible solutions to the crisis and their complications
There are different views regarding the government formation and possible solutions to the crisis. However, all the possible combinations face serious problems that prevent their achievement.
The major obstacle here does not lie in the differences of political visions and projects of the blocs, which seem possible to surpass. It is rather reflected in fighting over the principal posts, and the scrambling and competition between the leading figures to monopolize them. So it seems that the continuation of the crisis is likely, unless there is a sudden change in attitudes.
However, each of the possible solutions to the crisis carries with it elements of instability, and involves many complexities.
If a government of partnership that includes all the winning blocs is set up, it is difficult to imagine that the tension in their mutual relations, the exchange of accusations and confrontational positions, that continued over the past months, will not leave their negative impact on the government, the harmony among its members, the atmosphere of mutual trust within it and unity in positions. This will therefore impact the effectiveness of the government and its ability to deliver. On the other hand, the formation of a majority government would increase the tension of the general situation, intensify the dissatisfaction of some neighboring states and push them towards further illegitimate interference. In all cases, the process of decision-making and formulating state policy would become more complex, and will necessarily affect the performance of the government.
Growing popular discontent and protest movement
Discontent has mounted among the people against the backdrop of the failure of dominant forces to make any headway, and the emptiness and floundering of their political and media discourse. Some of this discontent has been manifested in various forms, taking in some cases a violent and undisciplined character and being employed for narrow political purposes. Other forms of protest, however, came about in response to appeals and initiatives by the democratic forces and civil society organizations in Baghdad and other provinces.
The slogans and demands raised in demonstrations, sit-ins and signature-collection campaigns focused on holding the dominant political forces responsible for the delay in forming the government, and the resulting political and constitutional vacuum with subsequent implications that are full of dangers on various levels. In addition, the protest movement demanded that these forces should expedite the formation of the government in response to higher national interests, otherwise – if they fail to do so – they should hand the task back to the voters by dissolving the Parliament and calling new elections.
Crisis of governance and system
The Central Committee meeting pointed out that Iraq is today facing a severe political crisis that reflects a more comprehensive crisis in governance and political system alike. This crisis is threatening the prospect of the political process, i.e. that of building a fully sovereign unified federal democratic state, and a system of constitutional rule based on the principles of citizenship, the separation of powers and the peaceful transfer of power, ensuring freedoms, human rights and the pluralistic nature of the ethnic, religious and denominational structure of the Iraqi people, and ensuring political, ethnic and cultural rights for all of them.
Crisis and incomplete national sovereignty
The Central Committee meeting also noted that there is no longer any doubt that the formation of the government is not a purely Iraqi affair. This situation reflects the non-fulfillment of the prerequisites of full Iraqi sovereignty in decision-making and handling its territory, wealth and security. The task of ending the legacy of occupation, and eliminating the legacy of crimes and destruction by the ousted dictatorial regime, is therefore still outstanding and lays the basis for the need for unity of national forces and the formation of a government that embodies this unity and takes into account the outcome of elections.
Government of "participation" and the concept of "components"
The slogan of “participatory government” comes close to this content, but diverges from it by substituting the concept of “components”, which is based on ethnic, religious and sectarian identity and affiliation, in place of political characterization and classification that spans ethnic, religious and sectarian lines. Perhaps one of the causes of the current impasse lies in this “components” understanding and practice, as the coalitions that are based on the representation of such components do not necessarily provide a common ground for the visions and political programs that are necessary for effective joint rule.
The principles employed by the dominant forces to set up the government, whether in the form of partnership or majority, involve in their essence the seeds of the problem. In the best case, compromises and consensus can be reached between the dominant forces that allow the formation of the government, provided that powers, positions and privileges are distributed in a satisfactory manner for all parties. The problem lies in that this can only be achieved, in the prevailing atmosphere of distrust, through the sectarian and ethnic power-sharing system, which is at the heart of the crisis and its continuation.
Conversely, the popular and mass political pressure can be an influential force in pushing the dominant forces to agree on forming a government of real national unity, or in forcing them to admit failure and go back again to the electorate. This is what our Party is working for by activating its work among the masses and developing joint work with the forces of the Democratic Current.
Most dangerous effects of the crisis
Perhaps the most dangerous effect of the political crisis is that it diminishes attention to the intensified contradiction and conflict between the people's national forces and the forces of terrorism and regression, and undermines vigilance towards the activities of the latter, allowing them greater freedom in the planning and implementation of their criminal operations.
On the other hand, the crisis has showed that the dominant forces are frustrated by the Constitution, do not show respect for its provisions, and do not hesitate sometimes to impose restrictions on public freedoms.
Democratic Current
The experience of the political process, and governments emanating from it in recent years, shows that their successes and failures are closely associated with the extent that they have been close to or distant from the National Democratic Plan. The current political crisis, and its repercussions on people's lives and their consciousness, does not only highlight the need, more than ever before, for a Democratic Current that exercises political influence, presence and representation and plays an active role in the country’s political life and in decision-making. It also highlights the fact that the Democratic Current has favorable conditions that are better than in previous periods.
The aim of efforts to activate the Democratic Current, as a political and societal current, is in the final analysis to organize and mobilize the forces that have an interest in adopting the National Democratic Plan and working enthusiastically and consistently in order to promote this plan as the one that holds the real and decisive solutions to the country's crisis.
Towards a broad mass movement
The growing discontent among the various sections of our people presents our party with many tasks that include adopting people’s demands, organizing campaigns and activities encapsulating these demands, confronting attempts to violate human rights and impose restrictions on certain freedoms set forth in the Constitution, and putting an end to the blatant interference in the affairs of associations, trade unions and civil society organizations. They also include exerting efforts to attract more and more forces and strata to participate in campaigning and protest activity.
This is also needed in connection with increasing concern over the reported expected deficit of $23 billion in the budget for 2011. It is feared that this deficit will be dealt with at the expense of the welfare of citizens, and through the looting of recent gains including the stabilization of teachers’ salaries and the enactment of a military pension law, and through further reduction of ration cards and the social protection network.
What is dangerous here is that as long as solutions put forward by the dominant forces continue to revolve within the logic of sectarian and ethnic power-sharing, they will remain unable to live up to the tasks required for building a modern democratic civil state, based on the rule of law and institutions. It is quite clear that fulfilling these tasks is linked to a large extent to the adoption of the National Democratic Plan.
It is therefore necessary to continue and increase efforts to expand mass action, pressing for the formation of the government and for it to carry out its obligations and responsibilities fully towards the citizens, and for the Parliament to take up its role in full, after responding to the decision of the Federal Court to end the open session, and begin to carry out its oversight role and legislative work.
At the same time, efforts should continue to unify the ranks of the forces and figures of the Democratic Current, to maximize its influence in political life and in shaping our country’s present and future.

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Iraqi Communist Party

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