Democratization in southern Kurdistan. An analytical study of the prospects for democracy
AuthorMirza, Imad M.
For the Kurds in Iraq regime change in 2003 created a unique opportunity since 1919 to promote their political rights. The aftermath of the Gulf War in 1991 witnessed the installation of the Safe Haven in the Kurdish areas in northern Iraq under the international protection. Under this circumstance the Kurds conducted the first democratic elections in Iraq in 1992. Several political parties competed for the popular votes that produced the construction of democratic institutions including the Kurdish National Assembly and the Kurdistan Regional Government. However, internal political immaturity and regional external interventions did not allow the process to prosper as it was aspired. The political process entered in a new era after toppling the Ba’ath regime from the power. Most of the factors that disfavored a political development in Kurdistan were substituted with those who favor it. The case study of this thesis is unique in term of being the biggest nation without having one’s own independent national state; the fact that required the incorporation of self-determination/secession theories to understand the manner and the path that political development has taken. The main aim of this study is to analyze the factors that have most impact on the prospects of democracy. Its essential analyzing tool is the democratization theories. The selected independent variables are divided into internal and external because it makes us more aware of the impact of each of these variables and define the strength and weakness of each of them. The internal factors are: a- political institutions: b- the political elite: c- the political parties: d- socio-economic factor: e- the social culture: f- the rule of law and accountability: g- legitimacy. The external factor is divided into: a- intermediary level: b- regional external level: c- international level. The study shows that it is crucial that both internal and external factors be studied together. The main finding of this study is that even though the transitional phase of democratization that Kurdistan undergoes is relatively successful in constructing democratic institutions it faces difficulties and challenges related to the studied independent variables.
PublisherUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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