Iraqi parties lack democracy and transparency
Iraqi democracy is run by groups of nondemocratic political parties, raising concerns over the sustainability of democracy in Iraq.
By Mustafa Saadoun*
Former Sadrist block parliament member Awad al-
In video footage May 14, Awadi was seen in front of Muqtada’s residence, carrying
a photo of him and his father, Mohammed Sadiq al-
Muqtada had sacked four members of his party, including Awadi, dismissing them of any business and government work in his name and the name of his family, against the backdrop of corruption charges.
Analyses by several observers in the media claim that Sadr's recent move is not related to the “corruption” of the members whose partisan membership was suspended but rather to internal economic reasons. Author Hamid Shaker said, “Those expelled by Sadr had grown beyond his control.”
The Sadrist movement is a family party. Muqtada inherited the popularity of his father,
Mohammad, and his uncle, Muhammad Baqir al-
Iraqi political parties rely on symbols and individuals, often clerics or religious
families figures who inherit the presidency of political parties. This phenomenon
became concentrated among the post-
Kubaisi added, “There is no partisan structure in Iraq. The law organizing political parties that was produced by the political class failed miserably to regulate the minimum partisan action. Therefore, insignificant political formations still prevail over the scene, and they proliferate for the sole purpose of having access to funding.”
Weeks ago, head of the Badr Organization and leader of the mostly Shiite Hashd al-
Sources close to the Badr Organization told Al-
The Badr Organization, founded in 1982, is no different from the Sadrist movement or other parties. Amiri is the military commander of the organization, a previous military wing of the Islamic Supreme Council. Amiri remained its president when it became a political party in 2003.
Loyalty to the leaders in these parties is a prominent feature. All members aspire
to become close to their leaders. In a voice recording obtained by Al-
Since 2003, no Iraqi political party has applied democratic mechanisms in its administration. Even parties that hold general elections have kept their same leaders.
It seems that what recently happened with Muqtada al-
Perhaps his experience with those close to him was the most prominent in the democratic
political process in Iraq, but it was not the only. Former Prime Minister Ibrahim
Harith Hasan, a senior scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center, told Al-
He went on, “The political system in Iraq is a neopatriarchal system, which some
call democracy without democrats, based on competition between power centers whose
legitimacy derives from personal charisma or family status and from clientelism-
*Mustafa Saadoun is an Iraqi journalist covering human rights and also the founder and director of the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights. He formerly worked as a reporter for the Iraqi Council of Representatives. On Twitter: @SaadoonMustafa