Iraqi Community in San Diego California: Discussion of the 2005 Iraqi Election
Prepared by Dr.Thair Al Bayati
On February 17, 2005 a group of 12 Iraqi community activists and representatives of social and civil society organizations in California held a meeting in San Diego, California and discussed the recent Iraqi Election of January 30, 2005. The group nominated and accepted Mr. Farouk Gewarges to chair the meeting. Mr. Gewarges welcomed the group members and accepted the vote on the agenda. Our goal from this discussion is to prepare some suggestions and comments to any Iraqi future election organizer so we can avoid violations and mistakes occurred in the elections.
Dr. Thair Al Bayati a leader in the Iraqi community of California reviewed the Election Report.
On January 30th the Iraqis celebrated their historical election day. This election was a breakthrough in the development process of Iraq as a free and democratic country. Thousands of candidates, hundreds of political parties and independent groups took part. We, members of the Iraqi community outside of Iraq participated in the election and were following the election news throughout the internets and news reports. However, on January 30 the vote was denied for hundred of thousands of Turkmen, ChaldoAssyrians, Izdians inside and outside of Iraq. These ethnic groups form approximately 20% of Iraqi populations and due to violations and lock out of elections they lost about 49 seats in the National Iraqi Assembly total of 275 seats.
Below are some events regarding the elections.
•The Assyrian international news www. Aina.org agency wrote on 02-10-05 “Were ChaldoAssyrians, Turkmen, Izdians Intentionally Locked Out of the Iraqi Election?”
•On February 11, 2005 the Iraqi Turkmen front issued detailing Kurdish voting abuse on Election Day.
•Turkmen, ChaldoAssyrians and Izdians held voting rights protests on 2/5 and 2/6 in Detroit, Toronto, Stockholm ,London and Baghdad
•People in Mosul protested on 01-31-05 the lockout on Election Day.
•In Germany, Complaint was filed against the Kurd’s abuses the elections by Zayd Al Yassery com.msn@zalyasiri .
•On 02-07-05 the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq in its declaration #15 announced the election violations in Mosul provinces.
On Election Day, voting boxes and supplies were not delivered in many places in the Mosul area such as Districts of Al Hamdaniya (Qara qosh, Bartilla, karamles, Baashiqa, Bahzani, and the district of Al- Shikhan). Those areas have a population of about 300,000 ChaldoAssyrians people. The voting boxes and supplies were to be delivered from Kurdish controlled Arbil, nothing arrived on Election Day. Some other areas did not have voting centers at all. As a result ChaldoAssyrians lost thousands of votes.
Tal afer city is the biggest district in Mosul with a population over 350,000 Turkmen. The city had only two voting centers, (The average in Iraq was one voting center per 20,000 people) but most of the people could not vote because of the bias Kurdish National Guards who had created fear in the city prior to the elections. Their threats had turned people away from casting their votes. Other Turkmen areas in Mosul of over 50,000 people had no voting centers set up.
The area of Kirkuk underwent the highest level of Election violations in Turkmen areas. 45 Election centers erected on Election Day in addition to the 191 planned voting centers. These new centers were distributed in Kurdish areas. Ballot papers and supplies were drawn from many centers in Turkmen areas and distributed to the newly opened centers. This was not planned and therefore created shortages in ballot papers in many centers. People also voted without identification verifications. Most of the directors of voting centers were threatened, and forced to accept these votes regardless of any violations or irregularities occurring.
The Low turnout for the ChaldeoAssyrians in USA and the other countries was due to polling centers distributions. The International Migration Organization and the Iraqi bias groups worked together on this election, but did not prove to do an adequate job. The voting centers were not enough and not properly distributed.
After Dr. Al Bayati finished the Election report summary, Mr. Farouk Gowrges managed the group discussions and comments.
Dr. Labeb Sultan, leader of civil society movement in Iraq commented that in civil society we should support and protect all Iraqi’s rights, regardless of their ethnic group size. We need a tighter role for the independent Iraqi Dog Watch organizations. Democracy in Iraq will never flourish unless all the Iraqi ethnic groups are represented fairly. It is a shame that the Turkmen, ChaldoAssyrians, and Izdians were locked out of the Election both inside and outside of Iraq.
Professor Hanna Kalabat, an Iraqi journalist and community activist, said that one reporter from Mousl area reported that there was no collaboration from Mosul City council as to who must open the voting centers in the Christian and Turkmen areas. An official said they were "obliged" to bring people from Karballa and Baghdad to carry out the responsibility in Mosul area.
Mr. Sabah Saddiq, a journalist and a community activist argued that in a civil society we should support all ethnic groups and not tolerate the oppression of any group. Mr. Saddiq was jailed for two years by Saddam because he was supporting the Kurds back then. He said, today, the Kurds should not oppress the Turkmen, ChaldoAssyrians and Izdians and lock them out of elections.
Mr. Zaker Arem, a lawyer, and journalist indicated that we should thank Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, a ChaldoAssyrians from California. She wrote a letter to the International Organization of Migration (IOM) in persuading them to open a voting center in San Diego, a home for over 25,000 ChaldoAssyrians. But the IOM did not open one; we lost thousands of votes from San Diego area.
Mr. Saaed Sebo a ChaldoAssyrian community leader suggested that we have to write to the Iraqi National Assembly, the United Nations and explain the violations and the lock out of Elections for hundred of thousands of Iraqi ethnic groups. He added, in Mousl areas, armed people took voting boxes by force, opened them, tampered with the contents, and then attempted to reseal them and returned them to the voting center for counts. Thousands of ChaldoAssyrian votes were rejected.
Mr. Jamal Jammel, an activist in Iraqi civil society indicated that the Izdians, another ethnic group estimated over 100,000 people had no voting center in Mousl area. He added that in a news conference on Feb 01, 2005 Iraq president Shaykh Ghazi Alyawor referred to the election violations in the Mosul area.
Ammer Garmo, a community leader and the president of Crystal Ball Chaldean Club commented that all Iraqis must unite in their struggle for democracy. He said he will make available the Club’s conference room for any future meetings.
Mr. Farouk Gowrges thanked all the group members for their active discussions and partake.
The low turnout for the Turkmen, ChaldeoAssyrians, and Izdians voters was due to poor polling centers distributions outside of Iraq, and the lockouts that occurred within Northern Iraq. These Iraqi ethnic groups lost a minimum of 49 seats in the Iraqi National Assembly total of 275 seats. Reliable resources estimate that the Turkmen are 12% of Iraqi population, considering the 3 seats they have gotten they lost a minimum of 27 seats. The ChaldoAssaryians are 7%, although they gained only one seat, they lost 21. The Izdians make up 1%, but received no seats. In democratic Iraq, we must protect these ethnic groups from the tyranny of other groups. The Election process that occurred in 2005 was expected to be faulty, but the level of lockout votes and unfair distribution could have well had an impact on Election results.
We, the Iraqi community in California demand the Iraqi National Assembly, the United Nations or any other agency may organizer the next Iraqi election in the following manner:
•Communicate and consult the Iraqi community leaders, Churches, Mosques, to decide on proper voting center’s distributions. More polling centers be should be added.
•Mousul, Kirkuk, and Diyala provinces must have better security in Elections Day, law and order must be in place. We suggest forming Special Election task force from non bias Iraqis to control the voting centers in northern Iraq where most of the ethnicities are centered.
•We hold the IECI and the Kurds responsible for the violations and irregularities that occurred during the election in northern Iraq.
This report used materials of complaints filed by groups and organizations to the Independent High commission of Iraqi Elections regarding the Election violations.
Contact Person for the group:
Mr. Farouk Gewarges
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عدد المساهمات: 112 | تاريخ الانتساب May 2003 | تاريخ الارسال: 6:42 am on Mar. 8, 2005 | IP