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Iraq: Patriots Grouping Head Calls For National Resistance To Join Political Process --> Iraqi insurgents (file photo) (AFP) In an interview with RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) in Baghdad, Hatim Jasim Mukhlis, leader of the Patriots (Wataniyun) Grouping, said that national resistance groups should join the political process. The interview was broadcast on 9 December.

Mukhlis: Two years and a half after the change [of the regime in Iraq], people have not felt any positive aspect of this change; neither have they seen any improvement in the state of the economy, security, and their everyday lives. [The Patriots Grouping] aims to [form] a government based on competencies, not on loyalties; a government that will provide services to citizens. We already have launched a free-of-charge medical service program in cars with mobile surgeries. This started some three of four months ago in remote areas where physicians normally [are not available] or where people have no chance to get to a hospital. For ourselves we have already started providing services. This is our main idea.

RFI: Ordinary Iraqis are anxious that even the new parliament will form a government based on partisan blocs and that the government consequently will be political rather than professional, expert, and technocrat. Is this anxiety realistic, in your opinion?

Mukhlis: Yes, very realistic. As I have mentioned, the Iraqi people have not felt any positive aspect [since regime change]. This is the reason for the fumbles and the deterioration of security that we can see, and for all this destruction that has been getting worse day after day. Certainly the Iraqi people will demand something more. They will demand that their government really be based on competencies not on sectarian, ethnic, or even political proportional sharing. The security situation is wrecked and the task is to rectify it. The task is to discover a way to stop this bleeding. And the bleeding will stop only after the Iraqi people are satisfied, and they will not be satisfied unless there is a government that really cares for the people’s welfare, not its own partisan, ethnic, or religious benefits.

RFI: A main point in your electoral program is dealing with the security situation. What security plan do you propose?

Mukhlis: The security issue needs cooperation from all Iraqis. It also requires that we distinguish between terrorism and national resistance. The Iraqi national resistance must be integrated in the political process. After that, we can together take the correct steps to start to extinguish the violence and for the U.S. forces to withdraw from cities. Definitely, together we will manage to get rid of terrorism. The issue cannot be resolved by one single community, by government, or by a ministry. All of us must unite as Iraqis and look from the same perspective so that we eliminate terrorism and the bloody violence that is mostly pointless, because: the forces in conflict have not understood the reality, there is no direct connecting link between the two camps, and no correct plan has been set for an end to the occupation.

RFI: Beyond the topics Hatim Jasim Mukhlis has touched upon, the electoral program of Wataniyun (Patriots) Grouping includes also a plan for political alliances; dissolution of the de-Ba'athification Commission; fighting unemployment; dealing with corruption and protectionism; and a supporting the Arab identity of Iraq.

(Translated by Petr Kubalek)
Iraqi Election Poster

Click on the poster for an enlarged image.

The Iraqi Independent Electoral Commission issued posters in Arabic and the two dialects of Kurdish on the allocation of National Assembly seats by governorate for the 15 December National Assembly election. The poster says, "230 seats for the governorates, as well as 45 compensatory and national seats," while the corresponding map shows the breakdown of seats by governorate.

For more background on the election, click here .

For a complete archive of RFE/RL coverage, background, and analysis of the December 15, 2005, legislative elections, click here.