Iraq’s Election Is Over, But Now for the Hard Part
So the Iraqi election is over, and when all is said and done, it was a relatively significant accomplishment for democracy in the region. Sure, the elections weren’t exactly perfect, but in a region where elections are usually for show, it is still a pretty great achievement. Now for the hard part…picking a government that Iraq’s political leaders will accept and endorse.
First off, we won’t know the election results for quite some time, and speculating about the winner will only get hopes up (depending which side you are for). Early reporting on election results are often preliminary and unedited in all societies…remember that awful three month experience the United States faced in 2000? Truth be told, if the U.S. cannot accurately predict a close election, we should not expect the Iraqi media to do that much better. I mean c’mon, there were 6,100 candidates vying for over 300 seats, so early coverage should be taken with a grain of salt.
Optimism is profound right now. Iraqis are showing off their purple-fingers and are boasting about their country’s democratic successes. Insurgents only managed to kill 36 people across the country during Election Day, a tragic number, but still remarkably low when putting the attacks into context. Iraqis braved the violence, eager to make their voices heard through ballots instead of bullets.
But again, the real test will come after the election results are tallied. In the short term, who leads the government is a distant second to how the government is picked. Will months proceed without an Iraqi Government, like in 2005 when it took almost 6 months for the parties to agree on a Prime Minister? Or will Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds do some effective backroom dealing, dividing the spoils in a way that will provide Sunnis and Kurds with representation?
We don’t know yet. Too early to tell, but this is certainly a great first step.
-Daniel R. DePetris