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(AFP) Below are excerpts from a commentary by Raf'I al-Atraqji, identified as "a writer from Iraq," that was published by Baghdad's "Al-Zaman" newspaper on 30 November. The piece is part of a series by the newspaper called "Al-Zaman Asks the Iraqi Elite" and was entitled "Will The Elections Fulfill The Requirements Of Iraqi Citizens?"


Let the objective of all Iraqis...be allegiance to the homeland, serving it, and sacrificing for its glory, advancement, and establishing righteousness. Let the right person be placed in the right place to serve his nation well, irrespective of whether he belongs to this party or to that political quarter, [whatever his] ethnic background, religion, or denomination.


I believe it is the duty of every zealous, nationalist, Iraqi citizen to join [this debate] by giving his views if they are constructive, corrective, and objective.


Every coalition or political party is supposed to put forward its program of action and future plans in order to allow the electorate to judge and decide by giving their support for implementing its program on the ground. Statements should be supported by deeds in order to close and unify ranks and solve the daily problems of the citizens.


We want leaderships that hold in their minds and consciences the grievances of the citizens and want to solve them, not cast them aside or delay them indefinitely, limiting themselves to press statements and to promulgating laws that serve their interests or the interests of some segments of society.


The citizens' selection of those who represent them is indeed a great responsibility. So a voter must know the candidate and have background [information] on [that candidate's] capabilities, qualifications and traits.


We are hoping that the coming elections on 15 December will be fair and transparent, without any intervention or tampering with the results such as occurred in the referendum held on 15 October.


The nation does not need coalitions built on sectarian or ethnic bases. We Iraqis want, and ardently support, the establishment of a state that does not depend on ethnic or sectarian principles. Its primary objective should be to serve the people, and its real [foundation] should be nationalism and allegiance to the homeland.


If proper, internationally endorsed standards are applied in the elections, we shall be able to attain real democracy.


Political blocs, especially religious ones, must not involve the eminent religious leaders in their political and propaganda expositions.

Iraqi Legislative Elections 2005



RFE/RL's coverage, background, and analysis of Iraq's December 15, 2005, legislative elections.

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