ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq has entered a new phase following the demonstrations of October 2019, as the people have expressed their exasperation with the sectarian-based system of governance in the country, President Nechirvan Barzani said on Tuesday.
President of Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani, while speaking at the a forum hosted by the Middle East Research Institute (MERI), noted "the protests represent the desires of Iraqis who have lost hope and are unsure of Iraq's future, and who simply want a decent life, as is their right."
Barzani explained that, previously, Iraq's contemporary history was only viewed through the lens of the periods "before and after 2003." Nowadays, he argued, people are talking about the shift in Iraq's history witnessed last month, stating that "the Iraq we will know after October 2019 is a new Iraq. The people have voiced their dissatisfaction with empty slogans and promises, as well as their desire to improve their lives."
"The Iraqi youth, from 15 year olds to 25 year olds, they do not remember the 2003 war or the Saddam regime, and they want a proper chance to grow and prosper."
Barzani cautioned, however, that "while the demands of the protesters are legitimate, we should realize that one person is not to be held accountable for the existing problems, rather all the political parties, authorities, and the various governments" that followed after the fall of the regime. He pointing out that "the current Prime Minister [Adil Abdul-Mahdi] does not have a magic wand to make the problems accumulated over the years disappear overnight."
The Kurdish official recognized that the Iraqi people "have grown tired" of the current political system which "is divided along sectarian lines," stressing that "an early election and constitutional amendments are not the proper solution to the current problem."
"Meetings and discussions that involve all authorities in Iraq to renew and rebuild the current system of governance in Iraq, and the economic sector," was touted by Barzani as a better alternative to ongoing violence and tensions.
Demonstrations in Iraq started early in October 2019 in the central and southern provinces of the country and have resulted in over 250 deaths and thousands of injuries.
Demonstrators are calling for a radical change in Iraq's political system, which they say fails to address their needs, and instead, serves the interests of a small governing elite.
Editing by Nadia Riva