Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The fix is in 

Recently the Iraqi Parliament made an interesting revision to the electoral laws for the upcoming vote on its constitution. From the New York Times:

Iraq's Shiite and Kurdish leaders quietly adopted new rules over the weekend that will make it virtually impossible for the constitution to fail in the coming national referendum.

The move prompted Sunni Arabs and a range of independent political figures to complain that the vote was being fixed.

Some Sunni leaders who have been organizing a campaign to vote down the proposed constitution said they might now boycott the referendum on Oct. 15. Other political leaders also reacted angrily, saying the change would seriously damage the vote's credibility.

Under the new rules, the constitution will fail only if two-thirds of all registered voters - rather than two-thirds of all those actually casting ballots - reject it in at least three of the 18 provinces.

The change, adopted during an unannounced vote in Parliament on Sunday afternoon, effectively raises the bar for those who oppose the constitution. Given that fewer than 60 percent of registered Iraqis voted in the January elections, the chances that two-thirds will both show up at the polls and vote against the document in three provinces would appear to be close to nil.

"This is a mockery of democracy, a mockery of law," said Adnan al-Janabi, a secular Sunni representative and a member of former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's party. "Many Sunnis have been telling me they didn't believe in this democratic process, and now I believe they are vindicated."

Think this is bad enough? Well wait to you get to the details – it gets even worse.

Ms. Reyes said the assembly members had not changed election law, but only clarified the meaning of the word "voters" in the relevant passage. The legal passage in question states: "The general referendum will be successful and the draft constitution ratified if a majority of voters in Iraq approve and if two-thirds of voters in three or more governorates do not reject it."

In their vote on Sunday, the Shiite and Kurdish members interpreted the law as follows: the constitution will pass if a majority of ballots are cast for it; it will fail if two-thirds of registered voters in three or more provinces vote against it. In other words, the lawmakers designated two different meanings for the word "voters" in one passage. "I think it's a double standard, and it's unfair," said Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish assembly member who, like many other lawmakers, said he had not been present during the vote and only learned of it afterward. "When it's in your favor, you say 'voters.' When it's not in your favor you say 'eligible voters.' "

The reality is the fix was in on this process all along. Lets remember the government doing all this is a puppet government that probably wouldn’t make it more than a month or two without U.S. and British troops propping it up. The laws this government supposedly obeys were written by the U.S. occupation regime before they left. And the vote that elected this Parliament for all intents and purposes wasn’t monitored as the international observers had to observe from Jordan.

But apparently even all that isn’t enough to fix the process to the liking of the top Iraqi puppets and their U.S. paymasters. So they have to change the definition of what a voter is from one sentence to the next. And just to add insult to injury the same people who bring us this B.S. and try to pass it off as “democracy” then go around claming any government that doesn’t genuflect to their power is “undemocratic”. But look beneath the surface and it is easy to see who believes in one person one vote democracy and who doesn’t.


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