Iraq After Elections: Beyond Resistance

All eyes have been on the elections in Iraq scheduled for this month. Can they be held, and with reasonable freedom and safety? But the real task starts after the polls close.

The World Today Published 1 January 2005 Updated 12 November 2020 6 minute READ

Andrew Rathmell

There is a tendency amongst nation-builders to overstate the importance of elections; this is as true of this month’s polling in Iraq as it was of the operations in Afghanistan and the Balkans. Even if they are reasonably free, fair and representative – a massive and praiseworthy task - elections are only one stage. Polling in Iraq has rightly been the focus of intense effort. However, on the morning after, Iraqis and their international partners will have to roll up their sleeves and get back to work. Huge tasks lie ahead, notably political transition and government building. This year will be as much a rollercoaster ride as the period since the April 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

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