ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi Vice-President Osama al-Nujaifi warned on Monday against adopting the principle of “majority rule” as an alternative to the system of power-sharing in place since the fall of the former regime in 2003.
“Majority rule,” many Iraq politicians say, is a thinly-veiled euphemism for "Shia rule," as Iraq is one of the few countries with a Shia Muslim majority.
Nujaifi, a former Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament and prominent Sunni politician, shares the view recently voiced by Kurdish officials that widespread acceptance of the concept would benefit one party or sect at the expense of others in Iraq's multi-ethnic and multi-religious society.
Nujaifi’s speech came on Monday during his meeting with the head of National Wisdom Movement Ammar al-Hakim in Baghdad, in which he stressed the need to build a state of functioning institutions and achieve meaningful partnership between groups, according to his press office.
He also spoke of the importance of limiting executive authority in Iraq, which he said had undue influence on the legislative and judicial branches of government.
Kurds and Sunnis each count for roughly 20 percent of Iraq’s population, with the Shia majority making up about 60 percent.
Addressing the issue of elections, the vice-president stressed the importance of national security forces taking the lead in protecting voters and providing a safe voting atmosphere, "away from the dominance of the militias," a reference to Iran-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi (PMF) militias.
Multiple politicians aligned with the militias are running for office in upcoming elections as part of the al-Fatih Coalition, led by the prominent commander of the Badr Organization militia and former Transportation Minister Hadi al-Amiri.
Nujaifi stated that the military victory over the Islamic State (IS) has been achieved, but terrorism continues to threaten security, which requires cooperation to eliminate.
Nujaifi’s press office quoted Hakim as calling for a "government of national partnership and not majority rule,” and for “maintaining a balanced relationship with all forces.”
Iraq is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections on May 12, which will also include the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region. It is the fourth election since the fall of Saddam’s authoritarian regime in 2003.
On Thursday night, Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) announced that 6986 candidates have been certified to run.
Editing by John J. Catherine