ASIA/IRAQ - Political party of Christians announces the boycott of the next parliamentary elections

Friday, 30 July 2021 middle east   oriental churches   politics   religious minorities   elections  

Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) - The Party of the sons of two rivers (Beth Nahrain), a political group that brings together leaders and militants from Iraqi Christian communities, has officially announced its intention to boycott the next Iraqi parliamentary elections, scheduled for next October 10. The drastic decision is justified by bringing up a series of reasons, listed and argued in the statement with which the management announced its intention to boycott the electoral round.
"The Iraqi political forces, including us - reads the text, with implicit references to the excessive power of the sectarian militias and the bloody repression of the 2019 demonstrations - had asked weapons to be exclusively in the hands of the State, killers of demonstrators to be insured to justice and the issue of the fight against corruption to be resolutely tackled".
Unfortunately - the Beth Nahrain leaders add - none of these requests have found adequate answers, and it is easy to predict that the electoral process will also take place in conditions in which sufficient transparency and fairness are not guaranteed. The statement also puts its finger in the wound repeatedly denounced by the parties that in some way claim to exercise the political representation of the indigenous Christian communities (Chaldeans, Syrians and Assyrians). The system of "quotas", currently in force, which reserves 5 of the 329 parliamentary seats for members of the various Christian communities, in the opinion of the leadership of Beth Nahrain will continue not to favor adequate political representation of the Christian components, because in its current form it makes possible electoral manipulation operations which in recent years have already allowed the major parties to have those seats assigned to their own emissaries. The mechanism of these electoral manipulations is quite simple: in the 2018 elections - recalls the statement - the largest parties hijacked thousands of votes of their militants to support candidates who were loyal to them competing to win one of the 5 seats reserved for the Christian component. After that incident, requests to change the system for allocating "quota" seats, for example through the creation of specific registers of voters authorized to vote for the allocation of seats reserved for Christian candidates, fell on deaf ears. In mid-July, as reported by Agenzia Fides (see Fides, 17/7/2021), Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako feared the possibility that the upcoming elections will be boycotted by many Christian voters, due to the risk of fraud and above all of the mistrust due to the fact that in the 2018 elections the quota of parliamentary seats reserved by the electoral system for candidates from Christian communities was "stolen". Those scheduled for October will be early elections (parliamentary representatives should be elected as a rule every 4 years). The anticipated political vote was one of the demands of the protesters who took to the streets in 2019 against the government. In the climate of generalized mistrust, the appeals of commentators and political activists in favor of the boycott of the next election are multiplying. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 30/7/2021)