In the latest indication of just how much control he has obtained over the nation’s political system, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki today declared that some former Ba’athists would be allowed to participate in the January 21st election, provided they were proven to have severed all ties with the government ousted in the 2003 US invasion.
At the same time, Maliki insisted that others whom he judged to have remained loyal to long-dead leader Saddam Hussein would be entirely barred from the political process because they were “creating instability.”
The Iraqi government struggled to fill its assorted bureaucratic positions for years, but eventually a de-Ba’athification law was introduced which allowed some of them, though to this day the wording is hotly disputed, to take government jobs.
As the nation’s Sunni Arab minority was largely integrated into the Ba’athist political structure over its several decades of rule, the bans on their political participation has left Sunnis struggling to muster any sort of political presence in the nation’s parliament since the US occupation. Maliki’s power over the process will likely still give his party an advantage, since he will in practice be able to pick and choose which members of the Sunni opposition are to be formally banned from running for office.
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