SCIRI head Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim in August (epa)
RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq interviewed Raysan al-Rikabi, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq's office in the Dhi Qar Governorate, on 30 October in Al-Nasiriyah about the Shi'ite-led United Iraqi Alliance's position ahead of December's parliamentary elections.
Al-Rikabi: After recent efforts by the brothers in the United Iraqi Alliance to set up a coalition list, the result was, thank God, that not only did the United Iraqi Alliance preserve its previous composition but it was joined by important political groupings and blocs such as the Al-Sadr bloc, which had previously been outside the [United Iraqi] Alliance. Therefore we hope that this coalition will, God willing, form a broad base for the Iraqis represented by these...political blocs.
RFI: Has the Al-Sadr bloc officially announced that it will join the United Iraqi Alliance ahead of the upcoming elections?
Al-Rikabi: Yes, the political bureau of the Al-Sadr bloc has announced that the only list representing the Al-Sadr bloc is the list [of candidates] recognized within the United Iraqi Alliance and that there is no other list apart from this one.
RFI: How do you foresee the competition among the lists [of candidates] in the upcoming elections?
Al-Rikabi: The United Iraqi Alliance has recently been joined by political groupings and blocs that are broadly popular among the Iraqi public. We hope the [United Iraqi Alliance] will prevail in the Iraqi scene and gain a leadership position ahead of other coalitions and blocs. We hope the brothers in other lists will, God willing, wage an honest competition for the sake of serving Iraq and the Iraqi people in the next parliament.
RFI: What are the lists that will, in your opinion, get the support of a majority?
Al-Rikabi: It is clear that the large and well-established groups within the United Iraqi Alliance have enjoyed a broad popular base, so I am convinced they will definitely win the majority.
RFI: What do you expect after the elections? Will the language of violence and car bombers be silenced in Iraq?
Al-Rikabi: God willing, the elections will [mark] an end to terror, violence, and illegal acts. After the constitution is, God willing, implemented, and the next parliament assumes the responsibility for its implementation...Iraqis will, God willing, overcome this danger that they are going through.
RFI: Has a new political era of the development of democracy begun in Iraq?
Al-Rikabi: Yes. We have witnessed that Iraqis did not participate much in the political process at its beginning. Many Iraqi [religious] groups remained out of the political process due to their lack of information, lack of will, or some other specific conditions. Now, after they have seen the reality of democracy that has spread throughout Iraqi society with its political blocs, they have indeed realized that there is a real democracy working in government institutions and in the developments of the current political process. That is why they have entered the political process. So we hope the rest of the political process will be applied and will implement a real democracy among the Iraqi people, God willing.
(Translated by Petr Kubalek)