Every careful observer will notice the determination of the Iraqi people to make the political process go properly, despite all the obstacles that have been set in their way and all the challenges that these people must face. This has been an expression of the responsibility of the people. Despite poverty and problems that people face, they have shown a high level of consciousness and understanding for the importance of the successful conduct of the political process.
"This is what the authority [of al-Sistani] has called for: to participate in the elections and to vote for the [best candidates], those who are the most competent, trustworthy, and determined to serve people, and who will spend their abilities on building Iraq, God willing."
Do you expect the election turnout to be higher or lower than it was in the referendum [on the constitution in October]?Ibrahim:
More people were interested in participating in the referendum than they had been in the previous elections. God willing, in the upcoming elections people will demonstrate their high consciousness and understanding...and the turnout will be higher again. God willing, people will express their opinion in favor of the better [candidates] and the elections will be successful in a way that we are striving for.RFI:
There have been observations that some [parties] have tried to buy votes by offering gifts.Ibrahim:
I personally have not seen anything. I have heard that some parties and groups have been buying votes with money. But I think that people are clever and high-minded enough so as to not be deceived by such methods. God willing, people will express their real conviction from their own independent motives and with feelings of responsibility. These [vote-buying] affairs should have no effect except a very limited one among some people who have no principles and whose role is very small, God willing.RFI:
How do you comment on the [explicitly neutral] stance of the authority [of Shi'ite Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani] toward the elections? Some have seen it as a result of the underperformance of Ibrahim al-Ja'fari’s cabinet while others think it is an attempt to put all political entities on an equal playing field.Ibrahim:
I would say that the authority [of Ali al-Sistani] has been always positive to all sincere Iraqi political entities and it believes that people are conscientous and understanding enough to assess which groups and candidate lists are beneficial and serving the [people's] interests. This really is the responsibility of the people.
I think the authority [of al-Sistani] is not expected to analyze the issues [of elections]. There are many candidate lists...so it would not be reasonable if the authority [of al-Sistani] points at one party and neglects another one. This objective stance that the authority [of al-Sistani] has taken reflects the psychology of the Iraqi people and the psychology of the legal experts close to the authority [of al-Sistani].
Every [legally] accountable Iraqi is obliged to examine, ask about, and watch carefully the people on candidate lists and vote only for those who will benefit and serve the [people's] interests. This is what the authority [of al-Sistani] has called for: to participate in the elections and to vote for the [best candidates], those who are the most competent, trustworthy, and determined to serve people, and who will spend their abilities on building Iraq, God willing.
(Translated by Petr Kubalek)