RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) interviewed interim National Assembly member Adnan Pachachi in Baghdad on 12 December. Pachachi discussed upcoming national elections in January, and his party's participation in them. Translated by RFI's Petr Kubalek.
RFI: With the upcoming elections in Iraq, a number of Iraqi political parties and groups have started to present the their candidate lists in order to enter the election campaign. The Independent Iraqi Democrats movement, led by Adnan Pachachi, has presented the list of their candidates that encompasses various elements of the Iraqi society, as Pachachi, president of the group, told us.
Pachachi: Our candidates' list is in fact a list of the group, of the Movement of Independent Democrats, and of other personalities [that] aims to include all elements of the Iraqi people. It will not be any sectarian list. There will not be a Shi'ite majority or a Sunni majority. In fact, I myself do not know who is a Sunni and who is a Shi'ite on the list. I do not know that and I do not want to know that because I see all Iraqis as equal and I do not want to make a difference between one Iraqi and another Iraqi on grounds of religion, religious stream, or even ethnicity, or racial origin, or matters of this kind. We are all Iraqis and, irrespective of our religious, ethnic, or sectarian allegiance, we are one people. For this reason, our candidate list includes everybody. There are Shi'ites, Sunnis, Arabs, Kurds, Christians, Turkomans, Sabeans -- all, all representatives are listed. In fact, I do not know whether a given person [from the list] is a Sunni or a Shi'ite, I even do not know whether the person is an Arab or a Kurd.
RFI: What is your opinion on the Shi'ite list that has been presented recently?
Pachachi: I have not studied the list yet in all its details. But anyhow, it is a right of anyone, any party, any coalition of parties, any group -- to present [its own candidates] -- this is democracy.... In my opinion, for the correctness of the election it is necessary to give the Iraqi people an opportunity to choose various candidate lists with a clear profile in particular things, who have certain principles and beliefs. Only they [the Iraqis] will choose. I mean, there should be a real choice.
But if there are candidate lists including parties and groups that in fact oppose each other in many things, this will not let any broad space for the Iraqi people to choose. For example, a list that includes a group of secular, even to an extreme, communists or nationalists and [at the same time] a group that has, for instance, religious and antisocialist outlooks -- if all these are put on one list, there will not be free space to choose. It can be [in such a case], for instance, that someone agrees with the socialists and does not agree with the capitalists.... The candidate list must be compact, the people choose, and only then the alliances can be made.
RFI: Do you think that the feminists' candidate list can, for an Iraqi citizen, fulfill the expectations from democracy?
Pachachi: Yes, the voting system is excellent because it is really democratic and it does not make any vote lost. If there were, for example, an election based on electoral districts, all votes that are given to the losing candidate [in that district] get lost. Now, not even a single voice gets lost. A proportion of those votes from the total counts. All Iraq will make one single electoral territory, so that there is no discrimination between one and another region, and so forth. In this way, the election will be democratic and free, only on condition the space is offered some time in advance so that broad participation is achieved. Without broad participation, there will be no real election.
RFI: Will the Iraqi people be surprised by the results of the election, as was the case during the formation of the interim Iraqi government?
Pachachi: No, no, now the way of voting or choosing the Iraqi government is clear. According to the Transitional Administrative Law, it is up to the National Assembly to choose from one list a candidate for the president of the republic and two other candidates for the vice president [from the same list]. After that, the presidential body names the prime minister who has to receive the agreement of the National Assembly, too. Such is the matter. In this way, the process of choosing the cabinet is clear.