Ali Al-Mamoori – Researcher
The process of reconstructing the Iraqi political system based on democratic principles has been met with significant frustration. There are concerns about the chaotic management of the political system in Iraq, along with dissatisfaction with the levels of corruption and the ambiguous political practices that lack consistency.
However, we can inquire whether the Iraqi experience differs from other attempts at democratization or if this chaos and confusion are inherent in the process of democratic transition. This paper aims to address this question succinctly.
First: Democratic Requirements
Democracy, as a social concept, is subject to considerable debate and holds multiple perspectives. Charles Tilly, in his book “Democracy,” identifies four main approaches to defining democracy, which can be summarized as follows:
1. Constitutional: Focused on the laws established by the governing system regarding political activities.
2. Substantive or Fundamental Rights: Emphasizing the improvement of living conditions and political rights within a governing system, including promoting people’s welfare, individual freedoms, security, and justice.
3. Procedural: Centered around a narrow set of power practices that determine whether a governing system can be described as democratic or not, often involving elections with genuine competition and significant citizen participation, leading to changes in politicians and policies.
4. Operational: Setting a minimum threshold of practices that must work continuously for a system to be considered democratic. According to Robert Dahl, these practices include effective participation, voting equality, enlightened understanding, control of the agenda, and the inclusion of all adults in political activity.
In any case, these approaches alone cannot provide a comprehensive and precise definition of democracy. Therefore, Charles Tilly establishes four criteria for evaluating democracy by examining its trajectory and the nature of the system it operates within:
1. Inclusivity: Democracy in a political system is assessed by measuring the number of people who possess political rights in the country, and the broader the segments of those who possess these rights, the wider the scope for evaluating the political system as democratic.
2. Equality: Based on measuring the existence of equality among different ethnicities in the country, ensuring equal rights and duties for all groups.
3. protection: The democracy index reflects a political system’s ability to equally protect its citizens, ensuring that elements of the government cannot exploit their positions against their opponents without accountability.
4. Responsive Consultations: Primarily related to demands and acceptance, meaning, how elements of the political system respond to public demands across constituencies and elsewhere. The satisfaction and acceptance of citizens regarding actions taken based on their demands play a crucial role, and the higher the response and acceptance rate, the higher the degree of democracy in the system.