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Much to Be Proud of In Our Journey to Democracy: My Talk at the Middle East Institute

Today, I spoke at the Middle East Institute about the Kurdistan’s historic elections – and I had nothing but pride to share with the packed room. I told the attendees that I am proud that we held peaceful, fair, democratic elections recognized as such by international bodies such as the United Nations  and the Presidency of the European Union. I am proud that the new Parliament will be at least 30 percent female – a percentage that is greater than any national or regional government in the Middle East, North American and most of Europe! I am proud that the Parliament has representation from every religious and ethnic constituency within the region. I am proud that democracy is finding a welcome in Iraqi Kurdistan.

In 17 years since the first elected Regional Government of Kurdistan, democracy we have made enourmous progress, but I admitted that we still have a long way to go. I noted that our path towards democracy has been bumpy – at times very bumpy – and sometimes the journey has faced roadblocks, some that we have placed for ourselves. But each day, each week, each month, the journey moves forward toward that destination of democracy.

That, to me, is the key to progress.

Continuing to ensure transparency and efficiency in our region’s government is also a major step toward our destination. I informed the attendees that in July, the KRG teamed up with world renowned consultants PriceWaterhouseCoopers to review all governance related issues – to help us develop a clear-eyed, blunt critique and action plan to address the crucial issues of good governance, anti-corruption and transparency. This multi-year endeavor will ultimately improve how our government serves its people.

One cannot create a perfect democracy over night or even in 17 years. I think that members of the audience today at MEI understand that Kurdistan remains on a journey to democracy – and that we have achieved much in our experiment in democratic self governance. Of course there is much more to achieve – and we intend to achieve it.

You can view my entire speech here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


6 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. Aras #
    1

    The Link is interrupted or may not exist more.
    I think with Democracy subject we are ripe enugh now, we stagnate at some region of KRG.
    PWC can only assist us to find a suitable methods for solving our problems but implementation still our stuff. regards

  2. MattLauer1 #
    2
  3. kurdsus #
    3

    Indeed, there is no transparency at all, and 17 years in fair enough to step in democracy.During this period only 1 election happened. You forgot to say some things. You are proud of 17 years of treachery, 17 years of suppression, 17-year looting national sources..etc. Your family is a stain in Kurd history.

  4. Ali Tawfik-Shukor #
    4

    Dear Kak Qubad,

    I read your speech with interest, and share your pride in Kurdistan's progress. Do not be dismayed by the attitude of naysayers in Washington – as you rightly point out, the business of criticism is lucrative to many.

    I too met with Joost Hiltermann from the ICG. I respect him, and realize he has good intentions, but anyone with knowledge of the historical context of Kurdistan would know better than to propose something as ludicrous as "oil for soil". A nation that willingly sells its land would be one with very little moral capital. However, perhaps the title of the organization gives away hints on their attitude: "International Crisis Group" – without a crisis, they would have no business case to exist.

    I admit, that I also sometimes fall into the trap of criticism. It is easy to sit back and muse on the shortcomings or failures of others. The challenge I pose to myself, and to my fellow Kurds, is to move beyond this. I understand the frustrations of many, but criticism shouldn't be an end in itself – it should be a contructive process that can lead to improvements. So let us all do our small parts to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Kurdistan.

    Wishing you success with your work,

    Ali

  5. 5

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  6. 6

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