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Thursday, March 10, 2005

Good News for Iraq

One of the wonders of a representative government, when it is empowered by groups of citizens who want the peaceful sharing of power, is the ability to compromise. This, along with the regular churn of leadership and ideas, is the thing that gives a government the ability to overcome difficult years. That the American constitution and system of government, for example, have survived is a testament to the trust of the people and the brilliant formulation of our basis of government.

Iraq is taking its first steps toward a similar goal: long-lasting government marked by peaceful, periodic power changes, and the mutual respect that grows between the governed and the government.

The Shia alliance that won the most seats in Iraqi elections in January announced today it had reached a deal with Iraqi Kurds to form a new government. 

In the five weeks since elections were held, on January 30, various factions have jostled for influence in Iraq’s first democratic government in modern times.

The United Iraqi Alliance (UIA), backed by the powerful Shia clergy, won 140 out of the 275 seats that will make up the new national assembly, which is to convene on March 16.

Although it has more than half the seats, the alliance needs the 75 seats won by the Kurds to muster the two-third majority required to elect a president and secure its choice for prime minister.

Today, after days of negotiations, the two groups announced a deal after reaching agreement on demands made by the Kurds for their support.

Regardless of your stance on the war, watching this birth of a representative government has to be a wonderful thing. What is especially gratifying is that so many people seem to believe that democracy and liberalism aren’t compatible with the Middle East.

Here’s to Iraq and what I hope is their peaceful and prosperous future.

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