Political parties of Iraaq

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Historical parties

During most of its modern history Iraaq wasn’t a democracy. Between 1920 and 1935 and 1939 and 1958 political parties weren’t allowed being the kingdom an absolute monarchy with rather feudalistic structures. Between 1935 and 1939 and 1958 and 2003 Iraaq was under single party regimes.

Major historical parties

Communist Party of Iraaq ( Hizb al-Shuyui al-'Irāqiyya ): First political party to be founded in Iraaq, in 1923, by Ahmed al-Qudwa (also known by the kunya Abu Yasser). Illegal from the start was much persecuted and Ahmed al-Qudwa was captured and executed in 1926.

His successor, Mahmoud Qurei (Abu Ismail) turned the Communist Party of Iraaq into a guerrilla movement which fought the governmental forces during the rule of King Ghazi I and early years of King Faisal II reign. Mahmoud Qurei was also captured and executed in 1941, being succeeded by Abdul Hawatmeh (Abu Ali) who pursued the guerrilla until he was also captured together with all the party’s leadership near Baghdaad, in 1944. As result the party was finally eliminated.

Renascence Party (Hizb al-Ba’ath): Founded by King Ghazi I in 1935 after his state visit to SNORist Russia. He was much impressed by the achievements of SNOR regime and decided to adapt such ideology to iraaqi reality. This was the entering of Iraaq into modern politics as before the monarchist regime was totally traditionalistic with feudal structures. Moving away the FK influences over Iraaq Ghazi I got closer to Russia and the Grossartige Allianz in a time the world was approaching to the Great Wars. Previous prime minister, Ibrahim bin Hussayn, dismissed himself and was replaced by general Sayyad Ali el-Keilany (considered a hero of iraaqi independence).

During next years Ghazi I and his party developed Iraaq with lots of public works while was much repressive against opponents. The Renascence Party made a strong cult of personality around the king, promoted nationalism, instituted an educational system and kept the majority Shiite populated Iraaq under Sunni dominance.

King Ghazi I died on the 4th April 1939 on an aircraft accident (or probable murder) and state affairs were handled by el-Keilany as regent. But on the 15th April 1939 former Prime Minister Ibrahim bin Hussayn triggered a coup d’etat on which the whole party leadership was executed on that same day. The party was then abolished and Iraaq returned to FK sympathies.

Ghazi’s death lead to a strong local myth about him, being today considered a major hero on modern iraaqi history (although he was hijaazi and not iraaqi). The Renascence Party also became a source of inspiration to several nationalist conservative parties in present day Iraaq.

Congress of Iraaq (Muttamar al-'Irāqiyya ): Pan-arabist leftist party (nasserist) created in 1958 to support the policies of Abdul Karim Qassim, who deposed the Hashemite rule in Iraaq on the 14th July 1958.

Promoted many public works, industrialisation, oil nationalisation, land reform, educational system so as a strong cult of personality around him. With the retirement of Gamal Abdel Nasser from active political life, in 1961, Qassim helped arab nationalist and pan-arabist movements hoping to become the leader of the Arab nation.

Qassim, prime minister and regent of Iraaq, became president as he proclaimed the republic in 1968. Left the leadership of the party to a secretary general but always kept a strong influence over the Congress of Iraaq.

Originally tolerant to all religions became more and more close to Sunni sect during the 1970’s as Sheik Saddaam Hussayn climbed to higher political positions.

Was deposed by his vice-president, Saddaam Hussayn, on the 16th July 1979 and the party was abolished so as most of its high rank members were executed during the following purges.

Party of God (Hizb Allah): Created in 1979 to support the policies of Saddaam Hussayn. Promoted a radical theocratic regime of Sunni power base, persecuting opponents and causing several wars in the Middle East (notably the Persia-Iraaq War, the Gulf War and the war against Al-Basra) as a way to distract the people from internal policies and keep oil (major iraaqi export) prices high. Promoted an environment of constant terror which caused hundreds of thousands of dead, sent religious minorities to concentration camps and repressed the Shiite.

With the fall of Hussayn’s regime, in 2003, the Party of God was illegalised and most of its leaders were caught and sent to trial. Some of them never were captured and are still leading guerrilla and terrorist actions with the support of Saudi Arabia. It’s considered since then that caused the death of half of the victims during the instability since 2003.

Other political parties

National Socialist Party (Hizb al-Watani al-Ishtiraki): Small leftist party founded in 1955 on illegality by left wing nationalists. It was merged with the Congress of Iraaq in 1958.

Party of Socialist Arabia (Hizb al-Ishtiraki al-Arabiyya): Small nasserist (left wing pan-arabist) party founded in 1957 being illegal at that time. As the National Socialist Party it also merged with the Congress of Iraaq in 1958.

Party of the Kingdom of Iraaq (Hizb al-Mamlaka al-'Irāqiyya ): Small right wing nationalist party founded in 1952. It defended Iraaq should have a local king instead being in personal union with Hijaaz. As illegal was persecuted until all leadership was already caught in 1955. All were executed with the accusation of high treason.

Present day parties

With the deposition of Saddaam Hussayn by several rebelled middle rank officers, on the 20th March 2003, the new provisional government illegalised Saddaam’s Party of God and accepted the legalisation of new political parties thinking in near future elections. Lots of new parties grew just like mushrooms after the rain and by 2004, when the elections were held, there were more than two hundred new parties in Iraaq.

The parliament which came from the 2004 election was much divided but two major coalitions appeared, one (the National Union) formed by the parties which support the new president and the other (the Democratic Front) gathering most of the opposition. Both gather most of the moderate parties in Iraaq represented at the National Council, the new elected parliament.

National Union

The National Union (Ittihad al-Watani): is a coalition formed by the supporting parties to the president and its government. It’s formed by:

National Party (Hizb al-Watani): Conservative nationalist party founded in 2003. It became one of the most voted parties on 2004 election and got several ministers on the new cabinet. Although not openly religious it has a strong Sunni powerbase. Moderately centralist.

Liberal Party of Iraaq (Hizb al-Ahrar al-'Irāqiyya ): Moderate right wing party founded in 2003. They are favourable to market economy although under the regulation by the government.

Islamic Party (Hizb al-Islāmiyah): The biggest Islamic party in present day Iraaq. It was founded in 2003 by former moderate members of the Party of God. A moderate religious party Sunni power based which defend the Islamic Democracy ideology. It has one minister on the cabinet, the minister of the Religious Affairs.

Dignity Party (Hizb al-Karama): A personalist highly conservative party founded in 2003 by Abdelaziz Djaballah, known for his polemic and populist speeches. It defends a centralised state to be able to fight terrorism and guerrilla so as defends the cut of civil rights to make possible national safety. It’s the less moderate party at the coalition.

Front of National Understanding (Jabhah al-Wiqaf al-Watani): The only religious party which gathers both Sunni and Shiite followers. Moderate religious party founded in 2003.

Democratic Front

The Democratic Front (Jabhah al-Dimaqrati) is a coalition formed after the 2004 elections gathering mostly left wing moderate parties which oppose to the government. Its parties are:

Democratic Party of Iraaq (Hizb al-Dimaqrati al-'Irāqiyya ): Moderate left wing party founded in 2003. Defends civil rights and conversations with the terrorist and guerrilla movements to make peace possible.

Socialist Party of Iraaq (Hizb al-Ishtiraki al-'Irāqiyya ): Another moderate left wing party with positions much similar to the Democratic Party. It’s the oldest present day political party in Iraaq, as it was founded by exiled in Syria in 1989.

Progressive Front of Iraaq (Jabhah al-Taqqadumi al-'Irāqiyya ): Left wing party known for being highly laicist, pacifist, anti-SNORist and defender of the civil rights of the minorities, women and homosexuals. It has a certain presence at Baghdaad’s electoral circle among intellectuals but it’s almost unknown outside the larger cities. It was founded in 2003.

Ecotopic Party of Iraaq (Hizb al-‘Iikuutuubiyya al-'Irāqiyya ): The only party which makes of the main issue the ecological concerns. Founded in 2004.

Other parties

Outside the two coalitions there are several parties of different ideologies. Among these there are the most radical legal ones. It’s among these that danger to iraaqi democracy might come as the safety issue and the religious radicalism are concentrated especially among the outside coalition parties. Among the more than two hundred parties which exist in Iraaq the following are those which have parliamentary representation:

Communist Party of Iraaq ( Hizb al-Shuyui al-'Irāqiyya ): A communist party founded in 2003 and claiming to be the successor to the homonymous party which existed between 1923 and 1944. Defends a totally laicist state and a full state-owned economy.

Nasserist Party of Iraaq (Hizb al-Nasseri al-'Irāqiyya ): A left wing pan-arabist party which defends the total unification of Iraaq with all other arab countries. It was founded by former surviving members of the Congress of Iraaq in 2003.

Koran Party (Hizb al-Quran): The most important Shiite party and second biggest religious party in Iraaq. Although it’s considered as moderate it refused the invitation from the National Union to be part of it. As justification was said that the government was too Sunni dominated. It was founded in 2003.

Iraaqi Front (Jabhah al-'Irāqiyya ): Most important SNORist inspired party in present day Iraaq. Was founded in 2003 under the inspiration of King Ghazi’s Renascence Party. It’s highly nationalistic, openly Sunni and arab supremacist, militaristic (with claims over the “lost iraaqi territories”), one of the main exploiters of the safety issue and against the “foreign occupation forces” (that means the Arab Community peacekeeping forces). Also owns an armed militia, commonly known as the “Green Shirts”. It made invitations recently to other SNORist inspired parties so as to the Dignity Party to gather in a coalition.

National Renascence Party (Hizb al-Ba’ath al-Watani): Founded in 2003 it’s another SNORist inspired party. Its policies are much similar to the Iraaqi Front and the coalition wasn’t possible until now due to its leader’s ambitions.

Hashemite Party (Hizb al-Hashimi): Moderate small monarchist party which defends the return of Iraaq to the personal union with Hijaaz. It was founded in 2003.

Turkmen Party (Türkmen Partisi): Regional party of the Turkmen people. Defends their interests and their culture against possible attempts for arabisation. Founded by exiled Turkmen in Persia in 1995.

Assyrian Democratic Party (Gaba Dimuqrataya Aturaya): Another regional party, this one of the Assyrian minority. Same goals as the previous. It was founded in 2003.

Parliamentary election results (2004)

Seats by Party (2004)
Major groups in bold (total: 275)
Party Seats
National Union 139
National Party 50
Liberal Party of Iraaq 35
Islamic Party 24
Dignity Party 18
Front of National Understanding 12
Democratic Front 74
Democratic Party of Iraaq 43
Socialist Party of Iraaq 27
Ecotopic Party of Iraaq 3
Progressive Front of Iraaq 1
Others 62
Koran Party 20
Nasserist Party of Iraaq 11
Iraaqi Front 9
Communist Party of Iraaq 5
National Renascence Party 5
Turkmen Party 3
Assyrian Democratic Party 3
Hashemite Party 1
Non-partidary representatives 5

Illegal parties

The present iraaqi constitution (approved by referendum in 2004) is one of the most permissive among all arab countries. The only parties or movements which are forbidden are those which use violent methods. With the fall of Saddaam Hussayn, in 2003, peace wasn’t achieved as several radical movements appeared causing major instability and unsafely in all country. This issue is much exploited by several parties which defend a harder reaction against terrorism and guerrillas.

Since 2003 is calculated that already died 50 000 people due to the illegal parties activities making of Iraaq a very dangerous place to live. Beside the already referred remnants of the Party of God these are the main illegal parties:

Iraaqi Liberation Front (Munazzamat al-Tahrir al-'Irāqiyya ): Radical left wing illegal guerrilla party with communist ideology. It’s particularly against the presence of the Arab Community peacekeeping forces. Founded in 2003.

Iraaqi Revolution Party (Hizb al-Thawrat al-'Irāqiyya ): Another radical communist illegal party. Founded in 2005.

National Islamic Salvation Movement (Harakat al-Watani al-Islāmiyah lil-Inqādh): Radical Shiite terrorist movement founded in 2003. Won international notoriety on the 11th March 2005 when shot down over Baghdaad an iraaqi aeroscraft causing the death of 500 people (200 at the aeroscraft, 300 at the buildings below). Its major issue is the revenge against the Sunni for what they had done against the Shiite since the independence of Iraaq.