» Monday, February 14, 2005


Asked of the Prime Minister had any reaction to the results of the election in Iraq, the PMOS said that the results of the election in Iraq first of all underlined that this was a genuine election. It had resulted in a genuine democracy. Clearly the turnout in some areas was lower than we had wished. However we should not exaggerate that because Sunnis had voted and voted in large numbers in certain areas. The reasons for the low turnout in other areas was a direct result of intimidation. What we had now was politics. That was a welcome change from what we had had before. Asked if the Prime Minister was disappointed that a secular Government hadn’t been elected, the PMOS said that the shape of Iraqi Government was entirely a matter for the democratically elected parties in Iraq. What had been encouraging was that all those who had spoken so far had spoken of the need for a truly representative Government, a truly representative body moving forward, and a constitution that guaranteed that the Government of Iraq in the future would be representative of the country as a whole. Therefore what we had seen was not just a democratic election taking place but a recognition that Iraq was made up of different elements and all those elements needed to be represented in the future.

Briefing took place at 16:00 | Search for related news


  1. A secular government has been elected. The shia coalition may have the backing of religeous leaders but those same religeous leaders have said that the clerics will not take up posts in the Government. The religeous leaders will have influence in Iraq in the same way that the pope has influence in Italy.

    The true test will be how the US reacts to this new democracy. The shia coalition appears to be behaving quite sensibly in trying to build consensus government in Iraq but it is also clear that the consensus will be to ask the US to leave.

    Comment by Uncarved Block — 14 Feb 2005 on 10:20 pm | Link
  2. Secular doesn’t mean the same as not having priests in government. Iraq isn’t (yet) a theocracy, but it certainly isn’t secular either. Since the occupation large swathes of Iraq have been operating under Sharia, the islamists have a majority in the assembly, and the priests are now puppeting the politicians. Grand Ayatollah Sistani is now running the show and is a complete nutcase. It’s incredible that this is being spun as a good thing.

    Comment by square peg — 17 Feb 2005 on 8:16 pm | Link
  3. The pope is also a nutcase and the catholic church controls the policies of numerous countries. George Bush claims that he is on a mission from god. Bishops sit in the House of Lords and our head of state is also the head of the church. Governments are influenced by religeon because the people they govern are influenced by religeon but that doesn’t in and of itself make them theocracies.

    Iraq is an overwhelmingly isalmic country so any democratically elected government there is likely to adhere to islamic prinicples. Religeous leaders will have an influence and I think it will be interesting to see how far that influence is used. But the fact is at the moment that the election was for a secular government which is what it will be.

    I admit that I don’t know a lot about Sistani but from what I’ve heard he seems to be taking a common sense approach. He knows he has lots of power but he is also creating a distance between the religeous leaders and the government which is vital if the government is to stand any chance of creating unity. Sistani knows that if he did try to impose his will, or shia dominance generally, then it would lead to civil war which will leave everyone a loser.

    I may be being optimistic but my underlying belief is that the only people who can sort out the problems of Iraq are the Iraqis. I believed that before the invasion and I think its still true now. If we in the west are really trying to spread a message of freedom then the only thing to do is to let the elected government of Iraq try to resolve their own problems and not interfere just because they might use that freedom to decide things we don’t like. If they eventually decide to become an islamic state then thats up to them and I don’t think that christian states have any grounds to criticise.

    Comment by Uncarved Block — 17 Feb 2005 on 10:24 pm | Link

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