[It’s] important to remember that this year’s voting is only the most public expression of Iraq’s attempt to build a democracy. More important is that institutions and the rule of law develop so that the general public can benefit from the freedoms a democracy is supposed to provide. That will take much longer, and Iraq is struggling on that front.
Iraq’s justice system for example, lacks due process, and its jails are famous for beatings, torture, overcrowding, and poor conditions. The deBaathification campaign launched by the Iraqi National Alliance and the Accountability and Justice Commission that it controlled just on the eve of balloting was another instance of the lack of rule of law as the Commission was not appointed by parliament, the charges against the banned candidates was never made public, and the court that dealt with the appeals changed its opinion due to political pressure. That doesn’t mean that Iraq cannot eventually establish a working democratic system, but that claims that it has already arrived are premature, and that it will be a long and arduous process that can see reversals, and even be cut short. Iraq’s people and government do have a chance to move in a positive direction however, which is in stark contrast to most of the countries that surround it that are governed by monarchies and autocracies
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