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Iraq: A Coalition With A Broad Tent And A Pragmatic Program

RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq interviewed Tawfiq al-Yasiri, head of the Democratic Patriotic Coalition in Baghdad on 24 November 2005.

RFI: The Democratic Patriotic Coalition (Al-I’tilaf al-Watani al-Dimuqrati), candidate list No. 652, has formed an alliance of 19 parties and movements. We asked Democratic Patriotic Coalition Secretary-General Tawfiq al-Yasiri about the goals of this alliance.

Al-Yasiri: It is a program of 100 percent national action. It wants to bring to the Iraqi people something that other parties possibly have not managed, or were not lucky in trying to bring. At the forefront of that are services, security, and an improved standard of living.

RFI: Who are the parties and movements that you have allied with?

Al-Yasiri: There are 19 parties and movements [in the alliance]. One of them is, of course, the Democratic Patriotic Coalition, followed by the Free Republicans Party (Hizb al-Jumhuriyin al-Ahrar), the Islamic Vanguard Party (Hizb al-Tali’a al-Islami), the Independent al-Sadrists Bloc Movement (Harakat Kutlat al-Sadriyin al-Mustaqillin), the Shi’ite Council (Al-Majlis al-Shi’i), the Political Shi’ite Council -- General Secretariat (Al-Majlis al-Shi’i al-Siyasi – al-Amana al-Amma), the Islamic Council of the Tribes of Iraq (Al-Majlis al-Islami li-Asha’ir al-Iraq), the Union of Iraqi Tribes (Ittihad al-Asha’ir al-Iraqiya), the Iraqi Tribes Grouping (Tajammu al-Asha’ir al-Iraqiya), the Shabak Bloc (Kutlat al-Shabak), the Kurds of Central and Southern Iraq (Akrad al-Wasat wa-l-Janub), the Free Movement of Western Iraq (Harakat Ahrar Gharb al-Iraq), the Independent Patriots Bloc (Kutlat al-Wataniyin al-Mustaqillin), the Trench Movement (Harakat al-Khandaq), [and others].

We have strived to discard any tendencies of individualism, chauvinism, nationalism, and sectarianism. We have based our work on a single standpoint and a single principle: the principle of patriotism and the principle of Iraq and Iraqis. That is why our program builds on this idea and this principle. Our [material] capacities are modest, but we are preparing to fulfill our task and claim our right to exercise democracy. We are entering the elections hoping to contribute to forming a balanced National Assembly that will be able to make correct decisions, to rectify wrong decisions, to cultivate the Iraqi state at all levels, and to secure services as much as possible for the sake of stability and improving the situation of Iraqi people and families. It should bring about a strong, resolute, competent, and experienced government that will disavow particularism, protectionism, bias, and sectarianism. We want that the right people take the right offices.

We want that people come [to the government] who will invest the best of their experience during the four years [of a legislative term] so that we can get Iraqis out of the current hardships with the least damage done. We will try to prepare a new soil for building a new Iraq.

RFI: What services will you offer to Iraqis if you succeed in winning seats in the parliament?

Al-Yasiri: Well, I have received some experience in the previous [interim] National Assembly where I was elected the head of the Security and Defense Committee. The difference is that we did not have the capacity to act. We were deprived from the capacity to adopt laws because the National Assembly was transitional and the legislation was in the hands of the prime minister [Iyad Allawi] and his cabinet. The only thing we could do was to pressure, at all levels, executive organs and officials so that they would implement something.

My field is international law, in which I hold a doctoral degree. If I am named to a competent position, this will be excellent for me to start, God willing. If I am named to a position to solve security issues, I am an old soldier. If I am named to an administrative position, I will be ready too because I have long and rich experience in life. Anyhow, if I do not find myself in the right office, I will firmly hope that someone better than me will get there. We must finally depart [from] immaturity, beautiful words, and the mania [of pursuing the] the presidency and leadership. We must be a little bit of altruists.

(Translated by Petr Kubalek)

RFE/RL Iraq Report

RFE/RL Iraq Report

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