Will Iraqi elections bring any change?

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By Fatih Abdulsalam

Azzaman, May 6, 2014

Millions of Iraqis went to polls at the end of last month despite mounting violence and risk of attacks targeting polling stations.

They were mainly driven by the hope that the elections will eventually bring about change and transformation that will deliver them from infighting on the political scene and sectarian feuds and battles in which hundreds of innocent people are killed every month.

But behind the scenes it seems political factions and leaders have already divided the seats whether in the new parliament or the type of new government.

The experience of the past 11 years provides good clues that the change Iraqi voters aspire for will not happen.

The leader of the faction who is forecast to win talked about a national plan to solve the country’s major problems, namely the loss of Iraq’s wealth, the surge in the shedding of innocent blood and the simmering dispute between the autonomous Kurdish region and the central government in Baghdad.

When listening to the speeches of influential candidates one would have thought that they were nominees for constituencies in Sweden, Denmark or Belgium and not for Fallujah, Anbar, Abu Ghraib, Shatra or Tal Afar.

Some might say why all this pessimism while the final results of the elections have not yet been announced.

There are still many in Iraq who dream of change that will occur following the elections. They dream of a country without violence, without bloodshed, a country in a flurry of development and reconstruction.

They dream of a Baghdad without concrete blocks and checkpoints like the good old days of the 1960 and 1970s.

But most probably they will be disappointed because the slogan so much loved by Iraqi politicians is “we are here to stay” and not “we are here to serve.”