Sudani: Democracy, Pluralism are Protected in Iraq

The Iraqi Prime Minister, Mohammad al-Sudani, at his office (AP)
The Iraqi Prime Minister, Mohammad al-Sudani, at his office (AP)
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Sudani: Democracy, Pluralism are Protected in Iraq

The Iraqi Prime Minister, Mohammad al-Sudani, at his office (AP)
The Iraqi Prime Minister, Mohammad al-Sudani, at his office (AP)

The Iraqi Prime Minister, Mohammad al-Sudani, has confirmed that consolidating democracy, political pluralism, and freedom of expression is one of the cabinet’s priorities, nearly 20 years after overthrowing the previous regime.

The Prime Minister recalled that Iraqis made many sacrifices in their demand for freedom after the dictatorship oppressed and repressed them for years.

Sudani was participating via videoconference in the “Summit for Democracy” conference at the invitation of US President Joe Biden.

“‏Our government has set several priorities right after being approved by the Council of Representatives a few months ago. One of these priorities is consolidating democracy in political and social life,” said Sudani.

He stressed that the constitution consolidates the aspect of pluralism, the basis of democratic action in countries that adopt democracy as a political and social concept.

The government is ready to pave the way for freedom of opinion and expression under the law and provide the necessary environment for holding the local elections this year.

Sudani announced that the cabinet also initiated administrative reforms and decisive initiatives to combat corruption and improve public services that guarantee citizens a decent life.

He pointed out that his government has taken several measures to develop the energy sector and invest in gas associated with oil extraction to limit waste and obtain an essential source for operating power plants and reducing pollution.

Iraq is witnessing political conflicts over the democracies and freedom of opinion and expression, most of which were not included in the laws due to disputes over the constitution and the failure of all attempts to amend it since its approval in 2005.

Iraqis believe that overthrowing Saddam Hossein’s regime is the most outstanding achievement, and most believe that the political class that controlled the country after 2003 adopted national, ethnic, and sectarian quotas.

It led to several failures that generated the uprising in October 2019, which ended with unprecedented repression and resulted in the death of over 600 people and the injury of more than 24,000.

Despite the revival of partisan life in Iraq after the change in 2003 and the participation of all parties in the elections, differences continue over attempts to resolve the constitutional amendments.

The Iraqi constitution is considered one of the rigid laws, making it difficult to amend the articles necessary to modify the democratic process in the country.

Legal expert Ali al-Tamimi noted that amending the Iraqi constitution is a long and complex procedure, although it is stipulated in constitutional Articles (142) and (126).

Tamimi told Asharq Al-Awsat that for the amendment to be appropriately ensured, it requires the formation of a parliamentary committee that proposes amendments approved by the absolute majority of the parliament.

He noted that the amendments must then be submitted for a referendum, which must be approved by half of the voters plus one.

Tamimi explained that the articles, which need to be amended in the Iraqi constitution, relate to the type of the political system, including Article (140) on the disputed areas, and Article (73), which are the president's powers and the structure of parliament.



UN Security Council Demands Halt to Siege of El Fasher in Sudan

A fire rages in a market area in El Fasher, the capital of Sudan's North Darfur state. The Sudanese conflict has continued for 14 months.
A fire rages in a market area in El Fasher, the capital of Sudan's North Darfur state. The Sudanese conflict has continued for 14 months.
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UN Security Council Demands Halt to Siege of El Fasher in Sudan

A fire rages in a market area in El Fasher, the capital of Sudan's North Darfur state. The Sudanese conflict has continued for 14 months.
A fire rages in a market area in El Fasher, the capital of Sudan's North Darfur state. The Sudanese conflict has continued for 14 months.

The UN Security Council on Thursday demanded a halt to the siege of El Fasher - a city of 1.8 million people in Sudan's North Darfur region - by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and an immediate end to fighting in the area.
The 15-member council adopted a British-drafted resolution that also calls for the withdrawal of all fighters who threaten the safety and security of civilians in El Fasher.
The UN said the resolution also calls for “an immediate halt to the fighting” and “withdrawal of all fighters that threaten the safety and security of civilians.”
The resolution received 14 votes in favor, while Russia abstained.
Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Anna Evstigneeva, explained that her country abstained from voting because a previous resolution on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan, which had been pushed through the Council in March, remained on paper.
UK Ambassador Barbara Woodward said she tabled this resolution “to help secure a localized ceasefire around El Fasher and create the wider conditions to support de-escalation across the country and, ultimately, save lives.”
Also, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield urged the Security Council to support efforts to bring about an immediate end to the fighting, by putting pressure on the warring parties to stop blocking humanitarian access and aid.
She said over 25 million Sudanese are in dire need of humanitarian assistance, and she and many council members urged that more crossings be opened — and that donors come forward.
Thomas-Greenfield then accused the RSF of obstructing the delivery of aid. She warned that the continuation of the conflict in Sudan would lead to further destabilization.
The conflict in Sudan broke out in April 2023 between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the RSF, leading to the world's largest displacement crisis.
El Fasher is the last major urban center in Darfur that remains in the hands of Sudan's army.
The RSF and its allies raided four other state capitals in Darfur last year, and was accused of launching a campaign of ethnically motivated killings targeting non-Arab tribes, and of committing other abuses in West Darfur.
Last April, UN officials warned that the violence poses an extreme and immediate danger to the 800,000 civilians who reside in El Fasher.
In Sudan, the UN says half of the population, 25 million people, need humanitarian aid, and that the war uprooted around 8 million people while famine is closing in.