10/25/2021, 10.12
IRAQ
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Chaldean bishops warn of worrying 'tension' post elections

Activists denounce attacks against civil society and media. At least 77 cases of violations during the electoral round. Protests also on the Christian vote and those elected. Patriarch and prelates relaunch values of "nation and fraternity". Fundamental need to seek public interest, not party politics. 

Baghdad (AsiaNews) - The results of the October 10 parliamentary elections in Iraq have triggered a situation of "tension" throughout the country that worries the Chaldean Church, whose patriarch Cardinal Sako intervened on the eve of the vote hoping for mass participation against fraud.

For this reason, the bishops have launched an appeal in which they ask politicians to "follow the values of the nation and fraternity", looking at the public interest rather than "party agendas". The ruling class is urged to proceed "quickly" to the formation of a "government of national competence" in light of a result that has decreed the victory of Moqtada al-Sadr, who does not have an absolute majority to form an executive. He will have to find agreements in Parliament to control the 165 seats needed. 

Meanwhile, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights denounces attacks on activists and members of civil society and the media, in a picture defined as "worrying" of human rights violations and torture of civilians. Overall, the authorities have recorded at least 77 violations during the electoral round in Baghdad, Kirkuk, Basra, Erbil, Nineveh, Diyala, Anbar, Wasit and Diwaniyah, with attempts of fraud and intimidation of opponents. 

In light of the current “tense” situation in Iraq, created by the elections, the Chaldean Bishops in Iraq, assembled under the Chairmanship of His Beatitude Patriarch Louis Raphael Cardinal Sako at the Summer Patriarchal Residence in Ankawa / Erbil, on Saturday morning, October 23, 2021 addressed the following appeal:

Calling upon all Iraqi politicians to follow the national and fraternal values, in order to give priority to the public interest rather than partisan agendas. This can be achieved by getting together in a calm and civilized dialogue explaining each other’s point of view, to end the current tension generated by the recent election.

Chaldean Bishops urged Iraqi politicians to expedite the formation of a government of national competencies, capable of realizing the demands of Iraqi people and preventing the country from “slipping” for the worse. Knowing that threatening or using weapons to solve problems between citizens is one of the major “sins” in all customs, as weapons are for the defense of the homeland only.

May Iraq be preserved and protected in the consciences of its loyal citizens.

Controversy is also registered on the assignment of the five seats reserved for Christians. Interviewed by the Kurdish website Rudaw, former MP Joseph Sliwa said that the new MPs are not representative, because 90% of their votes do not come from Christian voters, but from Shiites and Kurds, who have hijacked part of their preferences in order to elect candidates similar or "manipulable". The elected immediately replied that the process took place in a regular manner and that the complaints are the result of the discontent of the defeated. Among those who do not recognize the results of the polls there are members of the coalition (Shiite) Fatah, close to Iran, which have called demonstrations in Baghdad and other cities including Basra, Kerbala and Kirkuk. In response, the Electoral Commission has granted a new count of 300 ballot boxes, in a widespread climate of discontent that worries the Iraqi Church. Below is the text of the message launched by Card. Sako and the Chaldean bishops in Iraq.

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