Coalition Provisional Authority
April 26, 2004
Contact: Mike Hardiman
Baghdad Central 914-360-6864
Transitional Administrative Law “Town Hall”
A public forum on Iraq’s Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) was held
yesterday in Baghdad, the latest in a well attended series of meetings here and
across the nation.
Over 150 Baghdad residents from all districts of the city and all ethnic and
religious groups were present along with three members of the Governing Council,
who organized the event jointly with CPA's Baghdad Central office. Two dozen
journalists from Baghdad’s burgeoning local press corps joined in as well as
representatives from international media outlets.
Dozens of citizens actively questioned Governing Council members Dr. Mahmoud
Othman, Ezzedine Salim, and Ahmed al-Barak on individual rights, federalism,
civil rights and liberties, the current security situation, equal protection
under law and the process for creating a permanent government.
Debate was vigorous but cordial and marked by knowledgeable and thoughtful
“Democracy means the rule of the majority, however it also includes respect for
the minority,” said Governing Council member Ahmed al-Barak. He was responding
to a question regarding a TAL provision which has been interpreted by some
Iraqis to provide the three Kurdish Governorates with a veto power in the
referendum of the permanent constitution.
“We are abandoning the heritage of the former regime, and moving forward to
elections. This is a great mission, to bring the rule of law and sovereignty to
Iraq,” said Council Member Dr. Mahmoud Othman in his opening statement.
One member of the audience asked if Iraq would retain its identity as an Arab
nation under a democracy. Council Member Ezzedine Salim responded, “Iraq is a
member of the Arab League, but all are represented here now, including Turkmen,
Kurds and Christians for example. Iraq is full of diversity.”
The next Town Hall meeting in Baghdad will be held on May 15 and will focus on
the makeup of the interim Iraqi government as well as the Iraqi National
Assembly and the electoral system.
Governing Council Member Panelists:
Ahmed al-Barak is the head of the union of lawyers and human rights league in
the central city of Babylon.
Dr. Mahmoud Othman held various posts in the Kurdistan Democratic Party in the
1960s before moving to London. There he founded the Kurdish Socialist Party.
Ezzedine Salim is the head of the Daawa Islamic Party, and is based in Basra.
If you have any questions, please email Mike Hardiman at:
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