Some Iraqi Christian Parties Will Boycott Coming Elections

The Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian rally of Christian Iraqi political forces says it will participate in next April’s parliamentary elections, while the Chaldean Democratic Union Party vowed to boycott them because they believed their people had been “marginalized,” writes Bassem Francis.

al-monitor A teacher gives a Syriac language lesson in Baghdad, Nov. 20, 2012. Christians have opened their first school in Baghdad to teach the Syriac language, in an attempt to revive its usage, after decades of it mostly being utilized in churches.  Photo by REUTERS/Saad Shalash.

Topics covered

iraqi nationalism, iraqi elections, christians in the middle east, christians

Dec 7, 2012

The Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian rally said it is willing to participate in the provincial elections in Iraq, which are scheduled for next April. The rally will present a unified list made up of eight different forces.

Meanwhile, the secretary-general of the Chaldean Democratic Union Party affirmed that the party would boycott the elections.

Christians will participate in the local elections to be held in Iraq's cities (with the exception of the provinces of Kurdistan) and will compete in the provinces of Basra, Baghdad and Nineveh for three seats reserved for them based on the quota system.

Dia Boutros, spokesman for the rally, told Al-Hayat, "We agreed to participate in the next local elections with one list. We appointed the candidates and the head of the list and we handed over the list to the Electoral Commission."

Boutros explained that "the name of the head of the list and the candidates will be revealed when the commission ratifies them. The list includes eight parties, two of which have not been registered as a political entity yet. Thus, the coalition is formally composed of six parties."

Boutros pointed out that “some Christian entities and figures will run independently in Basra and Nineveh, and this is a natural right.”

He added: “The coming days will witness an amendment to the electoral law, and if it passes, we will nominate two for one seat within the list. Voters will have to choose the list first and then be entitled to vote or not vote for a candidate.”

“We believe that all of the candidates on the list are part of the rally regardless of which party they belong to,” he stated.

Furthermore, Secretary-General of the Chaldean Democratic Party Ablahad Ephrem told Al-Hayat that the party "decided not to participate in the elections due to the lack of capacity. We participated in previous elections at our own expense, but we currently lack resources and support, so we decided to suspend participation."

He explained that "we took this decision based on our private condition, not on anything else."

The Chaldean political organization’s supreme council, which includes three Chaldean forces, announced in a statement that it "will not participate in the elections," due to the fact that "our Chaldean people, organizations and political parties have been marginalized and denied their national, political and financial rights that they deserve from national resources, being a genuine Iraqi component, amid injustice in wealth distribution."

He stressed that "this boycott derives from personal reasons and does not constitute a political stance on the councils (provinces). In other words, the supreme council parties are not against the election process; rather, they encourage our Chaldean people to participate and vote for candidates of the Iraqi political blocs and parties in various provinces."

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