A Look At The Lists

Over at RedState there’s an excellent overview of some of the popular election lists in Iraq. I have a feeling that there won’t be a clear majority in the election results, which is actually a good thing. If no one faction can have an absolute majority, it forces the Iraqi government to have to come to a consensus on key issues. I’m not a huge fan of parliamentary systems because I believe a two-party system leads to more stability and less radicalism overall, but for a developing nation like Iraq the parliamentary system allows for a great deal of participation by a diverse array of groups.

It seems like the level of participation will be quite high and the Iraqi people have embraced the democratic process in a fundamental way – which bodes well for the future of Iraq. Even the Sunni population has begun to realize that the best way to represent their interest is through the ballot box rather than the ammo box.

Tomorrow’s voting will be the third free election in the new Iraq, and for many places the third free election in their history – yet the people of Iraq have embraced democracy and many have embraced pluralism and unity over sectarian strife. Iraq will have its problems now and in the future, but I find it deeply offensive that so many who are ostensibly tolerant and open-minded themselves would jump to the racist conclusion that Iraqi democracy is impossible and the people of Iraq are condemned to sectarian violence and civil war. I have more faith in the people of Iraq then that. Unlike we spoiled Westerners, they have experienced the living hell of totalitarian rule firsthand. They know that there is strength in unity, and if Iraq descends into civil war they will be the ones caught in the crossfire.

Iraq stands at a crossroads in its history, yet the Iraqi people seem confident and justifiably proud – a direct contrast to the dour nature of the Western media. One has to ask if they know something that a bunch of Western journalists in the Green Zone don’t…

UPDATE: PowerLine has a letter from a US Army Reserve soldier stationed in Salah-al-Din Province who says that he thinks we’ll see a multipolar government after tomorrow’s elections. I think he’s right – Allawi’s bloc will do well amongst the Shi’ites, the Shi’ite list will do well in the South, the Kurds will vote for the Kurdish list and the other parties will split what’s left. Allawi’s list might also do well enough to have a plurality of the vote if he can attract enough votes in the Shi’a south (Allawi is a Shi’ite).

4 thoughts on “A Look At The Lists

  1. When one mentions the two party system, I am wondering where else in the world is it applied? I can’t think of any other democratic nation with a system like our own. I am not passing judgement on this, but just asking out of curiosity.

  2. A number of countries in South America have experimented with constitutions based off of the American model- with little success. In general, as Zakaria pointed out in The Future of Freedom, the American system works almost despite itself at times; most nations work better with a parliamentary system.

  3. Most of the Anglosphere nations have a de facto two-party system. Australia has Labour and the Liberals, Canada has the Liberals and the Tories, the UK has Labour and the Tories (although the Tories may well go the way of the Whigs), etc. I think that starting with a two-party system may not always work, but in winner-take-all elections, Duverger’s Law says that a duopoly will result, and in general, I think that’s right.

  4. While these countries have two dominant parties, they also have powerful minority parties which actually manage to hold seats; the Greens and the New Liberals in Britain, for instance. In America, on the other hand, a charismatic independent can occasionally win an election, but in general, there are only two parties to pick from; and since the coalitions are so broad, there’s often little in the way of an underlying philosophy for either one.

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