Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Iraq's Democracy Is A Stacked Deck

Naomi Klein's newest column will be available from two different sources, and in two different versions.

It's called Brand USA is in trouble, so take a lesson from Big Mac in the Guardian Unlimited of March 14th, and Can Democracy Survive Bush's Embrace? in the March 28th issue of The Nation. Aside from the titles, there are several other differences; a shrewder media analyst would be able to list them all and would probably be inclined to speculate as to their origins.

But this lowly and nearly frozen Winter Patriot wishes to draw your attention to a single point Naomi Klein makes about the Iraqi electoral system: It's immensely undemocratic, as befits a systemm of "freedom" designed by occupiers who wish to be seen as liberators.

From the Guardian's version:
[T]he ongoing wrangling over who will form Iraq's next government, despite the United Iraqi Alliance being the clear winner, points to an electoral system designed by Washington that is less than democratic. Terrified at the prospect of an Iraq ruled by the majority of Iraqis, the former chief US envoy, Paul Bremer, wrote election rules that gave the US-friendly Kurds 27% of the seats in the national assembly, even though they make up just 15% of the population.

Skewing matters further, the US-authored interim constitution requires that all major decisions have the support of two-thirds or, in some cases, three-quarters of the assembly - an absurdly high figure that gives the Kurds the power to block any call for foreign troop withdrawal, any attempt to roll back Bremer's economic orders, and any part of a new constitution.
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