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Despite Criticisms of Alienating Christians Iraq Presidency Approves Provincial Election Law
By Amer Hedow :: Friday, October 3, 2008 :: 44790 Views :: Article Rating :: Law & Order, Community & Culture, Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Sulaimaniyah, IRAQ — Today, Iraq's three-member presidency council approved a delayed provincial election law, amidst strong criticism of legally marginalizing Christian representation in the country.  “Again, Iraqi Christians are dealt a devastating blow,” says Issam Najed.  “America’s revolution was ignited over taxation without representation.  In Iraq, Christians are given no representation in the direction of their country.” 

"I think that some political groups are pushing the remaining Christians to leave Iraq," worshipper Afram Razzaq-Allah said after services at a Catholic church in Baghdad. "They want us to feel that we are no longer Iraqis."   Native Americans can empathize with the indigenous people of Iraq.  Iraq's leaders feigned seeking safeguards for small religious communities in this mainly Muslim country as Christians protested parliament's decision for minority representation on provincial councils. 

Matti Galia, a local politician agrees with Razzaq-Allah.  In a rally in Mosul the local leader said, "This is an unjust decision and it affects our rights as Christians. We are original citizens in this country. The politicians' goal was to divide the Iraqi people and create more struggles. Indirectly, they are telling us to leave Iraq."

"The presidency council has adopted the provincial election law," said the official, who is a member of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party.  Talabani and Vice Presidents Adel Abdel Mahdi and Tareq al-Hashemi were all present at the meeting, which was also attended by Massud Barzani, president of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region.

The council's stamp of approval means Iraq can now finally go ahead with the polls which had originally been scheduled for October 1. 

Iraq's 275-member parliament finally passed the law on September 24 after secretly scraping a key clause that would have reserved seats on provincial councils for Christians and other minorities.

Ignoring calls for justice and fairness, Iraqi leaders forge ahead with elections which will be held early next year in 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces.   Although able to scrap Christian representation in parliament, Islamic Kurdish forces threatened ongoing violence and trouble if their demands were not met.  Unable to meet the needs, the council decided to exclude the disputed northern oil province of Kirkuk and the three Kurdish provinces of Arbil, Dohuk and Sulaimaniyah, leaving the areas militarily controlled by Kurdish forces.