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Iraqi Views: Professor Subhi Nadhum Tawfeeq

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

All this week we've been hearing from residents of Baghdad about what they think about tomorrow's election and the future of their country. We heard from a furniture-maker, upset that he's still without power much of the time and that he can't go out for fear of the ongoing violence. We also heard from a student, who said she's fed up with the American occupation. Today we wrap up with a political science professor from Baghdad University.

Dr. SUBHI NADHUM TAWFEEQ (Baghdad University): (Through Translator) My name is Dr. Subhi Nadhum Tawfeeq. I am 62 years old. I believe the main difference between this election and the election in January is the Sunnis will take part this time, not like what happened in the last elections when they boycotted the vote. They made several excuses about why they did this, all which they regretted later on.

You know that Iraq was under tyranny for 35 years--even before that, since the 14th July revolution in 1958 when Iraq closed itself off and there were no longer any democratic or political establishments. There were political parties then, but most were just picture parties. Then there was only one party. That is why democracy is strange and the Iraqis are not familiar with it. People born in 1968 are now 37 years old and know nothing about democracy or elections. They only know fake referendums.

I am not happy with the performance of our political parties, but I think the political parties are doing what they can now, considering the security situation. That's why their visions and theories are only ink. Everyone who is in power tackles countless problems. Iraq went through a big change. Like a boiling pot, when the lid was taken off, we saw all the bad aspects of the Iraqis, like looting and killings.

I am not optimistic that the new government shall be formed faster than the last time. This time the ruling Shiite party has gone weaker. This time some of its members have split. The Sunnis have joined, and some independents have also taken part, so we'll need more coalitions to form the government. And then each one of them shall impose his terms on the other. I think it shall take more time, but I'm hoping that it shall not. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.