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Democratic Gains in Iraq

When the final results come in from Iraq's parliamentary elections, Iraqis will begin to form a new government. President George W. Bush says that in the weeks ahead there will likely be "political turmoil in Iraq as different factions and leaders compete for position and power":

"We should welcome this for what it is – freedom in action. Dictatorships seem orderly. When one man makes all the decisions, there is no need for negotiation or compromise. Democracies are sometimes messy and seemingly chaotic, as different parties advance competing agencies and seek their share of political power."

"Out of the turmoil in Iraq,' says Mr. Bush, "a free government will emerge that represents the will of the Iraqi people":

"Iraqis are undertaking this process with just a year's experience in democratic politics – and the legacy of three decades under one of the world's most brutal tyrannies still hang over them.... So, we shouldn't be surprised if the Iraqis make mistakes and face setbacks in their effort to build a government that unites the Iraqi people."

Iraqis have shown that they can come together for the sake of national unity. After the January 2005 elections, Shia and Kurdish leaders who did well at the polls reached out to Sunni Arabs who failed to participate, and gave them posts in the interim government and a role in shaping Iraq's new constitution. "Ultimately," says Mr. Bush, "the success of Iraqi democracy will come when political divisions in Iraq are driven not by sectarian rivalries, but by ideas, and convictions, and a common vision":

"As democracy takes hold in Iraq the terrorists like [Abu Musab al-] Zarqawi and his al-Qaida associates are suffering from major defeats. Zarqawi tried to stop the elections throughout the year 2005, and he failed. He tried to stop the writing and ratification of a new constitution, and he failed."

The advance of freedom in Iraq is destroying al-Qaida's "great myth," says Mr. Bush. "These terrorists are not fighting on behalf of the Iraqi people against a foreign occupation. They are," he says, "fighting the will of the Iraqi people expressed in free elections."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.