Democracy takes a turn for the worse in Iraq

Bad news from the New York Times yesterday:

Shiite and Kurdish lawmakers have made a “clarification” to the rules on how the new Iraqi constitution will be passed:

Under the new rules, the constitution will fail only if two-thirds of all registered voters – rather than two-thirds of all those actually casting ballots – reject it in at least three of the 18 provinces.

I don’t really have anything else to say about it.. it’s pretty self explanatory.

When was the last time you ever heard of a “democratic” process that had those who *do not* vote in elections decide the fate of those who do.

Just over 50% of registered voters voted in the elections in January. Compared to the US and Canada, that’s a pretty darn good turnout… but even it is shy of the two-thirds (66%) “required”, and with a Shiite and Kurdish majority, the likelyhood of the constitution being rejected is, well… nil.

So why vote at all?

“Democracy” indeed.

5 replies on “Democracy takes a turn for the worse in Iraq”

  1. Seems obvious to me that this will encourage a large voter turnout for the ratification of the Iraqi constitution. It will not be in the best interest of any voter to boycott the election, don’t you think?

    I think if you examine the democratic process in all the countries that claim to be democratic you will find many less than perfect systems compared to the Canadian system (wow now there’s a mess no one can figure out with out long term tutelege) which you are quite happy with.

    You said a lot after claiming, nose in the air, there was simply nothing left to say. France and Germany claim to be democratic but no matter what the voters do, nothing seems to change. Impressive.

  2. “Seems obvious to me that this will encourage a large voter turnout for the ratification of the Iraqi constitution.”

    Jane… take off the rose-coloured glasses for a minute.

    When was the last time you ever heard of any democratic country with a turn out of greater than 66% for any vote?

    The change to the rules is counting turnout instead of the actual VOTES…how is that at all democractic?

    How is that any different from Saddams rule, when “99%” of voters turned out and they ALL voted for Saddam, imagine that! Democracy!

  3. Well, somebody has to balance your very dark tinted glasses Chris! The rules in Iraq don’t suit you. which is no surprise to me.

    I don’t follow voter turn-out around the world much but I’ll bet you a dollar to a donut that there will be a BIG one in Iraq in a few weeks. And as far as your scorn for this first step into democracy in Iraq, you really ought to compare ALL democracies before you pronounce this one a sham. Several EU countries didn’t even allow a popular vote for the EU constitution. Here in the US we have to have 2/3 majority to alter the constitution. I would guess that you object to the US electoral college in our Presidential selection process. If they wait in Iraq until Iraqi reps comes up with a constitutional process pure enough for you, then they’ll stay where they are in perpetuity. Or why don’t they just give up and become three countries? All at war with each other.

  4. “If they wait in Iraq until Iraqi reps comes up with a constitutional process pure enough for you, then they’ll stay where they are in perpetuity. ”

    You’re getting ahead of yourself Jane.

    The point of my outrage is that the Shiites and Kurds CHANGED the rules (set by the US and other parties)… the rules were already set out that if a 2/3 majority of votes cast in at least 3 of the provinces were against the contitution then the vote would fail.

    That is a VERY standard and agreeable standard for a referendum. Do you agree with that?

    I agree with that. How much more clear can I be?

    What I DO NOT agree with, and think is a mockery of democracy… is CHANGING the already set rules… WITHOUT the agreement of the Sunnis or anyone else…

    Do you understand what has been changed in the rules? I somehow don’t think you do, or you’d be as disappointed in the Iraqis as I am.

    Seriously jane.. you’re not making ANY sense here and your attempts to drag it into a Euro-bashing session is clouding your reasoning.

  5. Yes, I understand this change. (I will try to be more reasonable but your high dudgeon always brings out the worst in me. ) It centers on an interpretation of the Arabic word for voter which apparently has two meanings. So the constitutional committee has chosen to change the interpretation of voters to “registered” voters. ..Just google Iraqi constitution new rules and more information can be found.

    I actually don’t like it either Chris but I don’t rise to the level of outrage or “all is lost” for Iraqi democracy. More than likely, the UN or the US will help the Iraqis see the potential political harm
    this rule change will cause. I reverse my prediction. It is now more likely that the Sunnis will boycott the election. That is not a good thing. I hope this will be altered before the voting takes place. I really want the violence in Iraq to end and a good democratic government will go a long way to bringing that about.

    Euro-bashing ? whoa! One statement of fact in this thread regarding the new European constitution does not constitute Euro-bashing. In previous communications I pointed out that France, Germany and Italy are all suffering high unemployment and 1% or less economic growth and have been for years. Their birthrates are too low to reproduce their population in the coming generation. They are in trouble and that is not a good thing. I’d like them to wake up and fix their problems. The world would be a better and safer place if Europe contributes in a meaningful way.
    There are serious problems looming and we need a vibrant, growing prosperous European society to help the rest of the world stay safe and prosper.

    My concerns over Europe mirror your concerns for the US. We both see trouble ahead but we interprete facts differently. I have no monoply on wearing rose colored glasses.

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