Iraq after Tunisia and Egypt

It is too soon to know how events in Egypt will develop but we should certainly hope that the outcome is a form of democracy that protects pluralism, is based on transparent and independent institutions and which allows groups like the trade unions to flourish.
Iraq is ahead of the pack in that it is slowly rebuilding a federal democracy. The physical and psychological weight of its tragic past under decades of fascism doesn’t evaporate overnight.
There are fears that an inability to provide basic necessities such as electricity will convince people that democracy doesn’t deliver but a strong man and stability could.
Events in Tunisia and Egypt are concentrating minds elsewhere. Hundreds have staged protests in Baghdad against poor services and corruption with the reported slogan – ‘Remember the fate of Arab dictatorship regimes and how their people revolted.’
The fear of democracy slipping back lay behind the nine-month long haggle to form a new coalition government in Baghdad. Many were afraid that the victors would never be turfed out.
We should welcome, therefore, the PM Nouri al Maliki’s decision to waive half his salary and to make it clear that he will only serve for the next four years as well as seeking to put a two term limit on future prime ministers.
Gary Kent