A new beginning for Iraqis

PEACEFUL and smooth conduct of first parliamentary polls in Iraq, ever since the country declared military victory over the IS, is indeed a remarkable achievement on the part of Iraqi people and its institutions. According to results announced the other day, a political alliance led by cleric Muqtada Al Sadr has won the elections, much to the surprise of many. Though Al Sadr himself cannot become the prime minister as he did not contest the polls but definitely he will have a strong say in the future set-up.
Over the last fifteen years, the Iraqi people have witnessed a lot of violence, bloodshed and sufferings and now it is up to the new government to make a fresh beginning in their life by initiating the process of rebuilding and reconstruction. According to some estimates, more than two million Iraqis are still displaced across the country and IS militants are continuing to mount deadly attacks despite having lost control of the territory they once held. So the new government is faced with multifaceted challenges of not only containing the militants but also steering the country to path of reconstruction so as to bring peace and prosperity in the life of common people. To tackle these challenges, the new government will have to ensure that the successful conduct of elections also translate into a functioning democracy and promises made with the people such as eradicating corruption are also fulfilled. Definitely, elections are a necessary prerequisite for democracy but these alone cannot accomplish the democratisation of governance in the country. It will be important for the new government to take along other political forces to effectively turn the challenges into opportunities. Earlier this year at a conference hosted by Kuwait, international donors had pledged $30b and if these are materialised as promised could give Iraq a chance to dig itself out of the rubble left by the IS and the chaos that followed the 2003 US-led invasion toppling Saddam Hussain government. While it is for the donors to fulfil the pledges for the speedy reconstruction of basic infrastructure and utilities, the new government needs to take forward the process with complete transparency and commitment in order to help the country stand on its own feet which in fact has more than enough natural resources to look after itself.

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