10.26.2005

Iraq is Democratic By Law

The Iraqi draft constitution has been adopted by the free will of the people of Iraq. Iraq is democracy now –in the narrow meaning at least- and the Iraqi people are free institutionally and by the force of law; the Iraqi-made law not just by the will of some other nations.

This is a historic milestone in the Middle East history; the statue has been broken now and an Arabic people chose his destiny.

The Middle East politics would undergo structural changes; the rulers would be frightened of the new reality, reflecting on their ability to cope with that besides their enabling resources, and the peoples of the Middle East would be inspired by democratic liberties and rights they don not have but they know that they can claim it now. Because the U.S. attitude has changed and even the Middle East has serious changes inside.

It was easy to maintain a regional stable system in the Middle East, mainly a status quo, when it has not to bring prosperity and has the same essence across the different countries –the authoritarianism. In addition to the third necessity –the international consent and overlooking with pragmatic and cynical support from the powerful states, this system could last but with costs. These costs include persistent underdevelopment and increasing underlying circle of violence, which prevails to be a culture.

The Iraqi democratic process broke the harmony of the authoritarian-based system, nor the international context maintaining it. Hence, the Middle East may not be the same.

Here are some reactions to the passage of the Iraqi constitution:

(Source: International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.)

Bush, Rice, U.N.'s Annan Welcome Passage of Iraqi Constitution Draft

All three say constitutional vote indicates Iraqis' desire for democracy

By Phillip Kurata
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- President Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan have welcomed the announcement from the Iraqi electoral commission that voters have approved Iraq’s draft constitution in a referendum October 15.

"With their courageous vote, the Iraqi people have once again proved their determination to build a democracy united against extremism and violence," Bush said in a speech in Washington October 25.

The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq released the preliminary results of the referendum on the draft constitution October 25. Election officials reported that more than 78 percent of the voters approved the document.

The president said the draft constitution guarantees fundamental freedoms and lays the foundation for lasting democracy. He noted that many more Sunnis cast ballots in the referendum than in the elections in January for a transitional government.

Bush related an anecdote of an 85-year-old woman casting her vote in favor of the constitution after her son carried her on his back to the polls.

"She said, 'I went out to vote for it because I want the future to be safe and peaceful for my sons and my grandchildren,'" the president said.

In expressing congratulations to the Iraqi people on the passage of the document, Secretary Rice said, "Iraqis have met every challenge before them, from the transfer of sovereignty and the elections last January to the writing of the constitution and the holding of the referendum."

Rice said she hopes that all Iraqis will turn out to vote in the December 15 elections to choose the first permanent government of a free Iraq.

"As Iraq enters this new phase in its history, the United States vows its continued support," she said.

U.N. Secretary-General Annan called the referendum an "historic event," which he hopes will mark a milestone on Iraq's path to democracy, according to a statement issued by the United Nations.

He said the high voter turnout throughout the country and among all the main political groups despite threats of violence against them was a "welcome sign of their desire to choose ballots rather than bullets to express their political views."

The secretary-general expressed a hope that the adoption of the constitution will encourage a spirit of national reconciliation and an inclusive political process in the effort to build a democratic and united Iraq.

"The United Nations will continue to make every effort to support the efforts of the Iraqi people and government to that end," he said.

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