Debate in Iraq about the nation's predicament tends to be dominated by the Shia majority.

In the last few days, news coverage has concentrated on threats by Shia leaders to protest against US plans to form an Iraqi government without direct elections.

However, Iraq's lesser-known parties are keen to have their say on one of the most crucial crises to face the country since its occupation.

As Iraqis poured into Basra's streets to oppose US plans, their fellow citizens took to the streets of Baghdad and other Iraqi cities to demand Iraq’s unity and employment opportunities.

Democracy is vital 

Undoubtedly, Iraqis have differing points of view regarding the holding of elections in their occupied country.

"The IGC is appointed by the US, and its members are so far removed from the Iraqi people that while they are busy cancelling Iraq’s Civil Status Law of 1958 ordinary Iraqis are struggling to get food and fuel"

Abd Allah Salih,
Workers Communist Party in Iraq

Abd Allah Salih, of the Workers Communist Party in Iraq, said liberation is a popular demand. Democracy is vital to Iraq, he said, but it should be at the right time.

“We don't think it is the right time for elections in Iraq, they should follow a transitional period during which Iraqi political parties would have the opportunity to introduce themselves to the Iraqi people.

"Consequently the Iraqi voters could choose the political party that represent their individual aspirations,” Salih said.

“People in Iraq still do not have a proper idea about Iraqi political parties. We and all Iraqi political parties should have access to corporate and state-owned media to promote our political message and policies."

'IGC hindering elections'

He added the Iraqi Governing Council is trying to hinder the elections, and its members are isolated from the people.

“Iraqis are short of basic needs. I have been to Baghdad and seen the problems. Iraqis still lack so many things. The IGC does not represent the will of Iraqi people as the Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs Hushiar Zibari claims.

"The IGC is appointed by the US, and its members are so far removed from the Iraqi people that while they are busy cancelling Iraq’s Civil Status Law of 1958 ordinary Iraqis are struggling to get food and fuel."

And Salih believes the US came to Iraq with an agenda different to the one promoted in the media.

“I think that the IGC is a US propaganda tool. The aim of the US in Iraq is not to establish democracy - its real aim is global domination. Elections will wipe out its appointed ally, the IGC, because they will not win them.”

Imperfect elections

However, Dr Jasim Ma’arouf, of the National Democratic Assembly, told Aljazeera Net that even imperfect elections are vital to build democracy in Iraq.

He said: “We opposed the war on Iraq, and stressed that it would leave a political vacuum in Iraq. We warned that political parties would fade out, and religious and social leaders would prosper. We think that elections are the only way to get the Iraqi house in order.

Shias want direct elections this
year to decide a new government

"We should ask ourselves what options we have currently other than holding elections? We do not think that a US appointed government based on sectarian divisions would be in the interest of Iraqis.” 

Dr Ma'arouf
 said elections are a national demand and should be organised this year.

He added that even if the outcome of elections didn't fully represent Iraqi inspirations, at least democracy would be established.

“if we want prosperity for Iraqi people, then we should take the first step towards democracy. The popular demand for democracy in southern Iraq will be a vital weapon in the liberation of Iraq, in the meantime we hail the Iraqi national resistance.

“But the occupation authorities and the IGC will not allow democracy to find its way into Iraq. The US appointed IGC members know they lack popular support, and most of them know that they will be out of political life if they stand for election, they will lose.”