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Iraq: Kurdish Pundits Note Public Tired Of Politics, Switching Focus To Services

(RFE/RL) RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) interviewed two Kurdish journalists in Irbil on 29 October about the notable decrease in the interest of Iraqi Kurds in politics.

Karim Qadir, editor in chief of the daily "Khabat": As a journalist, I have naturally noticed the decrease in people's interest in the politics of Iraq in general and in the Kurdistan Region in particular. Of course, this decline in interest has its reasons.

Among the most important ones is the weakness of public services. Also, the inability of the government to [suppress] terrorist operations in the border areas between the Iraqi regions [administered from Baghdad] and [the autonomous] Kurdistan Region has contributed to the lack of people's interest [in politics]. Also, widespread corruption has contributed to discouraging people [from an interest in politics].

There is also some disappointment over the [Kurdish] representatives in the central government because [the government] has not in any way enriched the previous experience in the crucial issues such as returning Kirkuk and other Arabized areas to Kurdistan Region.

Also, the government has not fulfilled some of the promises that it gave to the people with respect to some national and patriotic issues as well as the issues of services. In order to deal with these problems, the government and the cabinet must pay attention to people's troubles and address their needs in public services. The government and the cabinet must, likewise, completely review their performance.

Muhammad Husayn Ahmad: There are many reasons behind the lack of public interest in casting their votes in elections or, let us say, their insufficient attention to these issues. The reasons are many.

For instance, there are the worries of everyday life related directly to people's subsistence. This has influenced their attitudes. Within that is the weakness of services, problems caused by the outages of electricity and water, issues related to public services and similar matters. All this has influenced the attitudes of the people here in Kurdistan.

In political terms, it may also be the monopolization of power, in fact. But all these things may change in the [next general] elections if there is a show of competition between political parties and coalitions. This may possibly draw people in.

(Translated by Petr Kubalek)