After the "public auction" of the quota, there is little hope for a real change in the Iraqi regime
Shafaq News/ The Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington considered, on Wednesday, that there is little hope for real political change and serious reform of the political system in Iraq with the formation of the new government according to the existing ethnic and sectarian quota system.
The American report, translated by Shafaq News Agency, stated that the great divisions in Iraqi society have contributed to the consolidation of the system, which is characterized by inadequacies, corruption, and quotas, in a way that makes it difficult to reform.
He pointed out that after more than a year of political confrontations, Iraq formed a new government on October 27, as political parties negotiated over who would take over the most important ministries for them.
The report described what happened between the parties during the negotiations to form the government as a public auction of bargaining.
The report returned to the stage of the emergence of the quota system, saying that it was an idea that arose in the early nineties of the last century by opposition political figures in exile to share political positions based on an estimated census of Shiites, Kurds and Sunnis to secure representation for these groups in the Iraqi government.
The report pointed out that this plan served as a road map after the US-led invasion in 2003 to form the Iraqi Governing Council, which included 7 of the main political parties that participated in the preliminary agreement in 1992.
Although the constitution, which was approved later, prohibits sectarianism and does not refer to the distribution of political positions on the basis of sect or ethnicity, the distribution of ministries in the quota system takes place according to an implicit agreement between the political players.
In addition to sharing the positions of the Presidency of the Republic, the Presidency of the Government, and the Presidency of Parliament, among the Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis, respectively, ministries and bureaucratic jobs are also shared in the same way, according to this quota system.
He continued, saying that the existing system according to this sharing of the political and demographic forces of the ethnic and sectarian groups, and aimed at achieving political harmony, inevitably contributes to facilitating corruption, because the ministry assigned to a particular political party is dealt with as its own domain and is exploited for the benefit of the party and not the country.
As an example of what is happening in this corruption process, the report shows that businessmen close to the political party that holds the ministry receive contracts, inflate implementation costs, and then share the profits with the party.
The report gave an example of this mechanism, referring to the Ministry of Health, which was dominated by supporters of the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr for a number of years, while the health system deteriorated because of the corruption that all parties implicitly agreed upon and involved in.
He continued, saying that despite the public corruption and deterioration of services, other politicians turn a blind eye to corruption in other ministries, which represents "sectarian corruption" as it affects positions that include ambassadors, military commanders, and deputy ministers, known as "special grades."
He explained that the parties appoint members loyal to the party as ambassadors without taking into account their experience and failure to meet the legal requirements, adding that these five thousand positions are usually more desirable than the position of minister, because the period of service in them is longer.
Voters and Quotas
According to the report, the quota system generates dependence on the part of voters on the parties because of their control over rewards and penalties, noting that Iraq has a bloated public sector in exchange for a fragile private sector, which gives the parties influence.
He added that given that the government employs 40% of the workforce, it is imperative for employees, whether they are in senior positions or more routine jobs, to obtain political support in order to maintain their jobs within the bureaucratic system.
The report stated that there are other “advantages”, as a former finance minister said in the year 2021 that many members loyal to parties receive salaries without work, and that there are 300,000 employees in the public sector who represent “ghost employees”, and there are more than 400 A retired woman with high military ranks, but she has never served in the army before.
Therefore, the report considers that the ruling authority, headed by the Prime Minister, suffers from a state of paralysis because the ministries are subject to the dictates of the dominant parties, instead of the decrees issued from the top of the government ladder or the ministerial work systems.
Although the supposed goal of the quota system is to form a government that represents everyone from all backgrounds, the system has become characterized by inefficiency and contributes to the strengthening of nepotism and corruption, while Iraqis' confidence in the government and decision-makers is declining.
Therefore, the report continues that the quota system has become one of the obstacles to reform in Iraq today, and it also weakens the Iraqi national identity.
He pointed out that although there were attempts to reform the political system, these efforts were stifled after the competing parties within the government united in their goal of protecting the status quo.
The American report concluded by saying that while the new government represents a continuation of this situation, this means that there is little hope for a political change of value. He concluded by identifying a paradox represented by the fact that this system, despite its high economic and political cost, contributed "to preventing the collapse of a civil, ethnic, sectarian conflict."
He called for presenting a convincing vision and serious reforms to push the system forward, but without endangering the internal security that the current regime provided to Iraqi society.
Translated by Shafak News Agency
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