Tuesday, February 23, 2010

British consul: Gorran is to the credit of PUK and KDP


By Hawar Ali

The British Consul General in Erbil, Jeremy Macadie, spoke with Rudaw about the Iraqi elections and the Kurdish political situation. He credits the PUK and KDP for creating circumstances under which Goran could come from nowhere and win 25 seats in the Kurdistan Parliament.

The process of election in Iraq and Kurdistan region, what does it that mean to the west?

The elections in July will be an opportunity for the people of Iraq to reject terrorism, confirm their adherence to democracy and decide the direction of their country for the next 5 years. The people of the West (and the South, North and East) are naturally pleased that Iraqis, after years of dictatorship now have a choice and are able to exercise their right to vote freely.

What role will Britain have in this election?

Like all members of the UN Security Council the UK is a major contributor to the work of the UN and its agencies including UNAMI who will be supporting the election process logistically and with training. Britain will also, with our EU partners, be observing election procedure on the day of the election and during the tally process.

Do you as a British consulate listen to those lists that have faced violation?

We are of course interested in all allegations of irregularity in the electoral process. They help us form an overall opinion of the management of the elections. However any Party that believes it has been the victim of electoral malpractice should, in the first instance, complain to IHEC.

This election is seen as a very crucial election for KRG and Iraq as whole, do you think this election will result in the change in ethnics and sectarian power in Iraq?

I think it is a sign of the new democracy that exists in Iraq that nobody can be certain of the outcome of the elections. I hope that any change that results from the vote next month properly represents the wishes of the Iraqi people. The most successful elections are won by convincing argument on key issues not by dividing the electorate.

Historically Britain has a lot of experience in Iraq, do you think the issue of disputed regions will be solved? And what can Britain do to make article 140 implemented?

I hope the question of disputed territories can be solved. It is not the role of the UK to impose a solution on the people of Iraq nor is it the role of the UN. The UN has proposed various ways forward on this difficult question but it is for the Iraqi people to decide what is acceptable to them. A census and a referendum of some sort would seem to be key to finding the best and fairest solution

In the last Kurdish election campaign, there were a lot of violence especially in Sulaimaniyah, in your opinion do you think this time same think will happen again?

The wonderful thing about democracy is that there is no need to fight over the results. In a few years time there will be another chance to change the political landscape using better ideas better arguments and more compelling candidates. I hope those that feel they have lost this time will resolve to try harder next time and treat the winners as they hope to be treated when it is their turn.Gorran "change" movement in the last election surprised a lot of people and got a lot of votes, do you believe they will again achieve a lot of votes?

As I said above it is very difficult to tell. We will only know for sure after the votes are counted. There are plenty of factors that could influence the final result. Not even all the voters have made up their minds who they will vote for on 7 March.

This time around the Kurdish political parties will have several different lists, do you think this will have a negative effect on Kurdish power and achievement?

The Kurds will have fewer seats in the National parliament this time. That will undoubtedly affect Kurdish influence in Baghdad. But if the census that has been planned for October 2010 takes place the Kurds may find themselves with more seats in future and a bigger budget. The census will also provide the demographic information needed to support all Kurdish and national development planning over the next ten years.

Do you see any difference between Kurdish political party's political goals in Baghdad?

I think all MPs who go to Baghdad are conscious of the fact that their obligations relate to decisions that affect the whole country. Indeed some important questions before the Iraqi parliament may not affect Kurdistan directly. However having talked to many people I believe there is an expectation that all Kurdish MPs will act together to promote solutions to those questions central to Kurdish concerns, the future of Kirkuk, payment of Peshmerga salaries, an effective hydrocarbons law and agreement on revenue sharing.

As someone who lives in Kurdistan and as a diplomat, in your opinion what were the positive and negative effects of the last Kurdish election?

The international community agreed that despite a few shortcomings the outcome of the Regional election generally reflected the wish of the Kurdish people. This important result should not be underestimated. We were all glad that the security services did such an effective job in protecting voters and polling stations on Election Day. Paradoxically the fact that so many women were elected was both very positive and rather negative. By voting for parties on a closed list quotas can be created. If however the election had been held using an open list, as will the next General Election, maybe less women would have been elected but at least the electorate would have been able to identify their representatives and hold them accountable for political success or failure during the life of the next Parliament. This in turn enables the Electorate to get rid of the underperforming MPs who, after all, are paid with public money.

Do you think this election will result in causing a division between KDP and PUK as two equal forces in Kurdistan, because PUK will loss their votes to Gorran movement?

We are all waiting for 8 March (or maybe later) to hear the results. Only then will we have an idea about where the votes have gone, who is disappointed and who is not. I think it is to the credit of the PUK and the KDP that they created circumstances under which Goran, a poorly funded party, staffed by volunteers, could come from nowhere and win 25 seats in the Kurdistan Parliament. Success for some and disappointment for others are the inevitable results of a democratic system (Photo: Rudaw)

© Rudaw