ASIA/IRAQ - 6 Christians elected as members of national parliament and 5 in the Kurdish bloc. Father Nizar Semaan comments for Fides.

Monday, 14 February 2005

Baghdad ( Fides Service)- During the recent elections on 30 January in Iraq 6 Christians were elected members of the national parliament and 5 in the Kurdish bloc. These Christian MPs, elected in northern Iraq, belong to 3-4 political groups plus one independent group. “We are happy with the outcome of the election” Iraqi priest in Mosul Father Nizar Semaan told Fides. “This is a turning point in the history of Iraq” said Father Nizar. “As Iraqi Christian now we hope for a new Constitution, secular and democratic which respects religious freedom of all Iraqis and guarantees full freedom for all citizens. A secular nation is the best way to guarantee freedom”.
“In this area I think we need help from the international community to draft a new constitution which respects democracy and tolerance which could serve as an example for rest of the Middle East”.
With regard to the election results Father Nizar said “people are beginning to savour the taste of democracy. Now political parties must learn to work together to form a new government with that healthy battle between majority and opposition typical of democratic societies. I hope that Iraq has seen the end of the dark years of tyranny of the former regime. There is no place for despots and dictators in our country today”.
In this regard the priest expresses the hope that “the new political and social forces elected to govern Iraq in the future will not waste the opportunity offered to the people of Iraq to demonstrate their capacity to build a new democratic Iraq to serve as a beacon of light for the other countries in our region”.
“This is the time to work for national unity” Father Nizar told Fides. “This process must involve everyone, including those who did not vote. We must look to the future and give hope to the new generations”.
“For this - the Iraqi priest concluded - we still need help from the international community which must supply us with the means to allow democracy to triumph in Iraq”. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 14/2/2005 righe 32 parole 368)