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Radio Free Iraq Speaks With Baghdad Governorate Candidate

RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) spoke with Hasan Abd al-Karim al-Jash'ami, a member of the National List for Baghdad, on 15 January. The list will compete in Baghdad Governorate council elections on 30 January.

RFI's Baghdad correspondent Layla Ahmad: Only two weeks remain for Iraqis before the first practice of democracy in the country. The National Assembly will be elected along with governorate councils. Candidates enlisted for the governorate council elections have spoken to the media about their election programs.

The National List for Baghdad (Qa'imat Baghdad al-Wataniya) is one of the lists that will be competing in the election for the council of Baghdad Governorate. Hasan Abd al-Karim al-Jash'ami, one of the members of the National List for Baghdad, said:

Al-Jash'ami: The National List for Baghdad has number 190 and includes both men and women. All of them are well qualified to lead the council of Baghdad Governorate.

RFI: The election program of the National List for Baghdad includes a number of points, all of which focus on the development for the capital Baghdad.

Al-Jash'ami: This is the list with a [real] program and goals. The most important of these goals is ensuring security, general stability, and the rule of law. It is [also] a [gradually] increasing offer of job opportunities for the people in our province, both in government institutions and private sector. It is the reconstruction of Greater Baghdad, with a special plan for the restoration of the health-care sector through building modern hospitals. It is the prevention of serious environmental dangers through building industrial zones and setting up waste dumps outside the city, far away from residential areas. It is a solution for the critical traffic situation by building a subway railroad, highways around the city, overpass junctions with tunnels, road upgrades, and restoring the railroads so that both passenger trains and freight trains can operate. It is also planting out a 'green belt' to protect Baghdad from [desert] sand as well as expanding parks within the city. It is material and moral support to the organizations for mother and child.

These are the points of the election program of the National List for Baghdad -- number 190. We have always stressed that more important than all these goals is the renewal of human [potential].

RFI: Al-Jash'ami compared the current Baghdad Governorate council with the future elected council [by saying] that the latter will be an effective council.

Al-Jash'ami: The current council is appointed and not elected, while the [future] council of Baghdad [Governorate] will be elected and will have 51 members, from various political and national Iraqi movements. Definitely, the council of Baghdad Governorate will include a large body for the surveillance over its proceedings and actions. This will be related to a body for impartiality, a directorate for inspection, and a bureau for financial control. I am convinced that the [future] council of Baghdad Governorate will be effective and exemplary because there will be people with university education, with their visions for improvement in Baghdad Governorate, and with [good] knowledge of the history of this governorate. They will be, God willing, working hard on the reconstruction of this beautiful governorate.

RFI: Hasan Abd al-Karim al-Jash'ami, a member of the National List for Baghdad, demanded that the candidates for governorate councils receive a proportion of the media time that will be adequate to the proportion allotted to the candidates for the National Assembly.

Al-Jash'ami: The media has to give special space to the lists running in the governorate council election because there has been no media coverage of the governorate council [election], not even in Baghdad Governorate. Absolutely all the attention has been given to the National Assembly [election]. The issues of the Baghdad Governorate council can be seen as focusing on construction, job opportunities, consulting, and development – [but precisely] they concern the Iraqi individual in his or her everyday life, sustenance, and stability.

[For news, background, and analysis on Iraq's historic 30 January elections, see RFE/RL's webpage "Iraq Votes 2005".]