Towards Peace, Democracy and National Reconciliation in Iraq


Communiqué Issued by the Meeting of the Central Committee (April 24, 2009)

The following are extensive excerpts from the communiqué issued by the regular meeting of the Central Committee of the Iraqi Communist Party, held in Baghdad on April 24, 2009. [Editor’s note: The last regular Central Committee Meeting of the ICP was held in October, 2008].

The Central Committee of the Iraqi Communist Party held a regular meeting on April 24, 2009. The meeting began with a minute of silence in honor of the martyrs who have passed away in recent months. The meeting considered the political situation and new developments during the period since the previous meeting (October 2008), and dealt with the recent provincial elections and their implications, drawing lessons from them for developing the party’s performance. The meeting also reviewed the work of the party and its leading organs during the previous period and took a number of decisions to enhance the role of the party at different levels.

As the meeting was convened during the party celebrations of its 75th anniversary, Hamid Majeed Mousa, the Secretary of the Central Committee, opened the meeting with a contribution that recalled the pioneers who had raised the glorious banner of the party. He stressed that celebrating this anniversary is also an occasion to take a close look at the party's long march in order to draw lessons at the intellectual, political and organizational levels, and to employ these lessons in the face of the complexities and imperatives of the current stage, in order to achieve the independence and progress of the homeland.

Features and trends of current political developments

The deliberations of the Central Committee considered the political developments in our country during the recent period. It noted that the country is still going through complex and difficult conditions and a struggle that is raging on several fronts. Regardless of the manifestations and forms taken by this struggle, it is still revolving around the future of Iraq and the form of the state and the political-economic-social system. The period since the last Central Committee meeting has witnessed a political dynamic accompanied by realignments, the breakup of old alliances, and the emergence of new ones. The provincial elections held on January 31, 2009 conferred a new dynamic on the political situation, with movement in several directions.

These elections constituted a transformation in terms of the redistribution of the political landscape. New political facts have been produced on the ground that will impact the forthcoming parliamentary elections and the process of formulating new alliances and alignments.

The election campaigns and the discourse involving the major competing lists have indicated that there is a relative change in the political discourse of some of the influential and ruling forces toward publicly abandoning sectarianism, ethnic intolerance and the quota system, and toward advocating the principles of citizenship, equality between citizens, the building of a civil state and respect for law.

We commend the positive features that characterized this electoral process, which showed the advance of the democratic process in the country, the expansion of its social and political base in spite of all difficulties, and the growing conviction that the ballot box is the best way for resolving differences and conflict management. But these positive aspects were accompanied by a number of negative indicators, including taking advantage of official positions and government institutions, political money, the non-neutrality of the state media, and serious gaps in the performance of the Independent Higher Electoral Commission, as well as seeing the votes of non-winning lists counted for the winners.

Some manifestations of stagnation and paralysis that characterize the political scene

If many had expected before the provincial elections that the outcome would lead to resolving differences and to a consensus on the basis of the resulting change in the balance of forces, then the actual course of events has followed another direction. The actual course of developments has shown that the winners in the recent elections did not take advantage of this opportunity to activate contacts and dialogue. Instead, this triumph has led to an increase in some manifestations of unilateralist tendencies in the exercise of power and in the decision-making centers.

As a result, the past period since the last Central Committee meeting in October 2008 has been marked by a state of estrangement, stagnation and tension in political relations between the parties that are influential in the political process. This has been reflected in what seems to be a paralysis in the functioning of state institutions and its main executive organs, in the context of the struggle of competing interests for power, influence and dominance over the process of decision-making.

It should be noted here that the factors affecting the Iraqi political scene are not only internal. They are also affected by regional and international factors that engage and interact with internal factors, making the struggle at sometimes more intensified and causing it to slow down at others.

The deliberations of the Central Committee meeting highlighted a number of features that characterize the political scene, including:

• The Parliament’s inability for a long period of time to elect a speaker to replace its former head. This situation affected Parliament’s ability to carry out its tasks, exercise its oversight role, and follow up on issues concerning the development of the country at various levels.

• Poor coordination between the executive branch and the legislature. The relationship between these two bodies has not been normal; there has been a lack of trust, estrangement and mutual resentment.

• A cool relationship, that is close to rupture, between the centers of executive power: the Presidency of the Republic and the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.

• Suspension of the meetings of the Political Council for National Security, which has not met for eight months.

• Tensions between the political parties, and in the relationship between the legislative and executive branches, have affected the work of the Federal Government.

• Tension has characterized the relations between the federal authority and the authority of the Kurdistan region. With few exceptions, the relationship between the two sides has been stagnant, thus resulting in an accumulation of differences and further complications in their relationship.

• A halt of the meetings of the Executive Committee, the Committee of Five and the four-party alliance (which is a support coalition). Furthermore, the specialized commissions arising from the Committee of Five have not met.

• Lack of clarity about the Political Reform Document approved by Parliament in conjunction with the signing of the Iraq-US Agreement.

• Absence of serious action on constitutional amendments. The Commission for Constitutional Amendments has completed the tasks assigned to it, but there are five outstanding points that still require a consensus to be reached among the governing parties. It seems that the differences on these points can only be resolved through an overall deal between these parties, which could then be translated into enacting various laws (regarding Article 140 (the status of Kurdistan), Iraq’s oil wealth and how to allocate it, the distribution of power between the center and the regions, the oil and gas law, etc). It is important to note that this paralysis already existed before the recent provincial elections, but it has continued and become even deeper after the elections, due to the conflicting agendas of those who are fighting over power and influence.

• Not activating or amending a series of laws (e.g., the Amnesty Law, the Accountability and Justice Law).

• Not endorsing nominations of deputy ministers, advisers, ambassadors, and heads of independent bodies.

• Troubled relations with the provincial councils, which have been aggravated by the results of the recent provincial elections. Problems have arisen in the setting up of new provincial councils and the distribution of tasks among their members.

• Poor coordination between security, military and intelligence agencies, which is influenced by political conflicts between the centers of power. This has had a negative impact on the security situation.

• The trading of accusations and media campaigns, which have sometimes escalated to the brink of confrontation.

• The escalation of suspicion, mistrust and sensitivity between various parties.

• All of this has provided greater opportunities for the activity of hostile elements from inside (supporters of Saddam’s regime, al-Qaeda, chauvinist saboteurs) and outside, from some neighboring countries and all the enemies of stability and democracy in Iraq.

Feverish competition over the control of political power has led to negligence by the state of its function in terms of reconstruction and overcoming the country’s difficulties. The government’s work has been sluggish, and it has seemed, especially in the recent period, as if it was a caretaker government instead of one developing an integrated program to address the actual complexities facing the country, which have been deepened by the current global financial and economic crisis. For the government to be transformed into a government of national unity, both in word and deed, it must develop a joint program, with its tasks being formulated on the basis of the actual needs of Iraqi society, rather than by asserting the interests of its constituent components under the well-known (sectarian-ethnic) quota system. This joint program must be based on the principle of citizenship as a real alternative to the system of quotas and mutual fears, a system which results in mismanagement and provides fertile ground for the growth and spread of corruption.

The stagnation that has characterized political relations must not be understood in an absolute sense. We have also seen during this period a movement that has led to changes and interactions affecting all the political entities and the ruling coalition. One can observe a significant realignment of forces which, although not radical, is effective and lays the basis for new balances and realignments.

On the other hand, the deliberations of the Central Committee meeting have pointed out that this relative change in the political discourse of some influential and ruling forces is not in isolation from the struggle of civil and democratic forces, nor from the misery and bankruptcy of sectarian slogans. This 'change' should be handled with reservation and caution, and without haste. Such processes are still ongoing and interacting. They are affected by a number of factors and causes, both local and external. Some of those who are in control of political power and decision-making are still practicing in secret what they are rejecting in public. This requires continuing the struggle against the sectarian quota system and ethnic intolerance that have become a cover for rampant corruption in the country and a principal impediment to its stability and reconstruction.

The deterioration in the security situation and its roots

The meeting of the Central Committee considered the recent developments in the security situation. We have seen in recent days a marked deterioration in the security situation, with a series of bombings both in the capital and in the provinces, that have led to hundreds of women, men and children being killed and wounded. This has had a negative impact on the mood of the people, which had improved a lot over the past several months. The persistence of these negative features could threaten the achievements that have been attained in security, and could therefore affect the entire situation.

The meeting stressed that the new wave of violence and terrorism is aiming, among other things, to drag the country once again to the brink of sectarian strife, spread a climate of fear and terror in the hearts of citizens, destroy the signs of security improvement that the country had started to experience during recent months, and destabilize the relative political stability. Contrary to what the planners and perpetrators of these acts have claimed, the recent wave of bombings serve ultimately to obstruct the restoration of Iraq's full sovereignty and independence, and the implementation of the timetable for withdrawing foreign forces, thus prolonging the presence of occupation forces. In addition, it is an attempt to influence the referendum (on the Iraq-US Agreement) that will take place in late July this year.

Our Party condemns the recent terrorist attacks that have targeted the sons and daughters of our people in various regions of the country, and expresses its condolences to the families of the victims. It calls upon the influential political forces within the government, in particular, to act firmly to tackle the security and political gaps exploited by terrorism. The party also calls on everyone to be aware of the criminal aims of the new wave of violence, to close ranks to confront and stop it, and to work actively to protect, advance and develop the political process, in order to serve the security, stability and prosperity of the Iraqi people.

In discussing the reasons behind the deterioration in the security situation, the Central Committee meeting deliberations pointed to a number of factors, including:

• The weak vigilance of security and intelligence forces. This is related to the state arrogance that has afflicted some of these organs as a result of concrete successes achieved in managing the security issue.

• The growing subversive activity, military and political, of the Saddamist Baath elements, al-Qaeda gangs, and all outlaws.

• The increasing activity of foreign intelligence and sabotage agencies.

• Efforts by terrorists and saboteurs to affirm their existence.

• The deterioration of relations between several parties in the political process, as well as those outside it.

The meeting stressed that the issues facing our country are broader than a purely security context. The elimination of terrorist activities and draining the sources of terrorism requires the adoption of an integrated system of political-economic-social measures. Security institutions need to be constructed and prepared on sound foundations based on competence, integrity, patriotism and loyalty to the constitution and the democratic system. This is especially important, as we are preparing to take over full responsibility for security from the American forces in accordance with the agreements between Iraq and the US.

It is also important to draw attention to the fact that the recent negative developments in the security situation have been, in some areas, associated with the return of militia activity. Such activity has been very noticeable, which means that our society might be facing a new round of conflict between rival militias if proper measures are not taken by the relevant authorities to control matters and prevent any violations of law and order.

National Reconciliation

The Iraqi Communist Party has welcomed, from the outset, the announced plan for national reconciliation, considering it to be an important and essential step towards the normalization of the situation, along with the use of dialogue as a means to move the country toward a better situation. This ICP also considers that this is the proper way to reach a political settlement that ensures the interests of all, attracts more forces to participate in the political process, and creates an atmosphere of confidence between all parties.

But this process has been characterized, unfortunately, by slowness, and has recently been hampered by a climate of tension and estrangement between the forces involved in the political process. Our party had earlier criticized some of the methods employed by those in charge of national reconciliation, as well as the performance of its High Committee. We also later criticized the marginalization of the Committee, the absence of a clear and integrated policy towards the groups that are targeted by reconciliation, as well as the slow pace of implementing the decisions taken by previous conferences on national reconciliation. It is important to note here that the poor management of this process has led to what we are witnessing today and to the delay in its completion, in addition to what has been published about Baathist groups and others who are reportedly interested in reconciliation. The deliberations of the Central Committee meeting emphasized the need for an integrated approach to this issue.

On the other hand, it should be pointed out that strong pressure is exerted on decision-makers in our country by some Arab, regional and international parties, including the United States, in order for reconciliation to take a certain course.

Despite the fact that reconciliation was launched several years ago, the process has proceeded slowly and has suffered from a marked reluctance. However, the process of reconciliation has been markedly associated in recent months a climate of tension between the constituent forces of the Iraqi political scene. Obviously this climate, in addition to the weakness of relations between the components of the political process, does not provide the best conditions for achieving new successes along the path of reconciliation.

The important thing for us has always been to ensure that our country eventually enjoys normal conditions, free of tensions and confrontation. We have therefore participated in all efforts, including participation in the Higher Committee for Reconciliation. We have stressed that for this process to be successful, there must be certain conditions, including cooperation between the forces that wish to build our country and realize the aspirations of our people for a restoration of sovereignty and independence, and the building of a unified, democratic and federal Iraq. The process of reconciliation must not be limited to conferences. There are societal activities and issues that need to be followed up and examined.

Another issue concerns the subject of de-Baathification. Some ambiguous statements issued by the government have sent the wrong message.

The deliberations of the Central Committee considered this issue and stressed the following main points:

1. The general position on de-Baathification must be determined by reference to the Constitution. Therefore, Article 1 of the Constitution, which prohibits the work of the Saddamist Baath party and its figures in Iraq, must be adhered to.

2. There is a need to distinguish between Baathists who were leading figures of the ousted regime and its gangs of torturers, on the one hand, and the vast numbers of citizens who joined the Baath Party for various reasons or were forced to join its ranks.

3. The call for national reconciliation must not include the leading figures of the former regime and anyone who committed a crime against our people. The latter should be brought to justice and held to account for the devastation they inflicted on the country and for shedding the blood of the innocent.

4. The call for reconciliation also does not include those who continued, after 9th April 2003, their adherence to Saddam's regime and its party, and committed or endorsed terrorist acts.

5. Ordinary Baathists should be given the chance to get rid of the legacy of the past and provided with assistance to return to the ranks of the people, engage in building a democratic system, and participate in establishing the new Iraq. This requires them to condemn the former regime, its party, policies and wars, to apologize for the crimes it committed against the Iraqi people, declare support for democracy, reject violence, and express a willingness to contribute genuinely to establishing and supporting a democratic system in the country.

6. The amendment and implementation of the Law of Accountability and Justice needs to be speeded up, including the formation of a commission responsible for implementing its provisions.

Iraq's Arab and international relations

The above-mentioned negative aspects of the situation are not meant to belittle the successes achieved in improving the country's foreign relations (delegations, concluding agreements, etc.). This is a manifestation of the recognition that the political and security situation in Iraq is at present better than previous periods. On the other hand, the deterioration of the political situation and the slowdown of reconciliation will lead to negative repercussions that are not in favor of the new Iraq. Sending ambassadors to Iraq and the consolidation of the relations with the countries of the world depends, to a large extent, on the improvement of the security situation and achieving political stability. Relations between Iraq and its partners should follow a correct course based on the principles of good neighborliness, partnership and mutual interests.

The American position

The Central Committee meeting discussed the developments in the US position after the new President, Barack Obama, came to power. Obama has come into office with a distinguished program that differs in orientation from the previous administration, and he has made promises to the American people under the impressive slogan that he raised: Change. It seems that President Obama has been consistent in his promise to withdraw American forces from Iraq within 16 months. The seriousness of the new US administration in implementing the Iraq-US agreement according to its specified timetable will provide an indication of the extent of its commitment to its promises. In addition, the severe financial and economic crisis, with its huge dimensions and deep impact, has put pressure on American decision-makers to ease the country’s burdens and obligations, as the new administration has earmarked $800 billion to save the American economy. Where will the administration come up with this money? Logically, the tendency would be to reduce military expenditures in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the light of all these factors, it seems difficult for the Americans to bear their continued military presence for a longer period, despite the statements issued by some military commanders. In order to ensure a normal state of affairs in Iraq, it is not surprising that the Americans would push for reconciliation (regardless of the way it is viewed by them), try to interact with the wishes of Arab governments, and seek a settlement with Iran. All of this will affect the course of the implementation of the Iraq-US Agreement that is facing the task of deciding on the withdrawal of foreign forces from towns and cities in June 2009, the problems of Mosul, Diyala and some hot spots, and the problem of the release of detainees from US prisons in Iraq.

A recent problem has been the release of Iraqi prisoners without controls from US prisons in Iraq, without going through proper investigations conducted by the security organs of the Iraqi government. This could cause a lot of problems and make some express reservations about the idea of amnesty. On our part, we do not reject the idea of amnesty, and stress the need for transparency and openness with regard to agreements reached by the Iraqi-US committees concerned with these issues, so that Iraqi citizens will be able to express, in July 2009, their opinion about the Iraqi-US Agreement through a referendum.

Economic and social conditions

The Central Committee meeting also considered the economic developments in recent months, especially the implications and results of the sharp decline in Iraq’s oil revenues. It concluded, in the light of data made available recently about human development, poverty levels, and other economic indicators, that the recent studies and reports published by the Ministry of Planning confirm the analyses and conclusions of the Party about the Iraqi economy. Recent statistics clearly indicate that the Iraqi economy suffers from deep structural imbalances, notably the great disparity in the level of development between rural and urban areas and between provinces, and the big gap in the indicators of human development between males and females, particularly with regard to education and work. Economic and social statistical surveys conducted in the past two years have revealed that about 23 percent of the population live below the poverty line. Levels of poverty are worst in rural areas, where the percentage of deprivation has reached 65 percent, i.e., three times the level in urban areas. The studies have also confirmed the close interrelationship between poverty and unemployment, and the persistence of high rates of unemployment due to the disruption of the bulk of industrial production and other productive activities. The scourge of unemployment is particularly affecting the youth strata, where the rate is about 30 percent. This rate is expected to increase in the short term if there is a transition to privatization.

These studies also confirm that the ongoing process of restructuring the Iraqi economy is expected to increase the level of poverty. They have also revealed the existence of big differences in levels of income in favor of the strata that have accumulated wealth and obtained high levels of income through rentier activities that are not connected to production, as well as illicit proceeds associated with financial corruption. The statistical data indicate that the increase in salaries achieved during the past two years has helped to narrow the differences relatively. But this improvement is not expected to be sustainable unless the wheels of production start moving again, agriculture recovers, and oil production increases.

The picture that emerges from these reports and studies of economic conditions, and what they indicate about the impact and effectiveness of the economic policies in place, is consistent with the conclusions of the previous meeting of our party’s Central Committee (October 2008). It then warned, in particular, against the absence of the necessary strategic vision with regard to the economy and its restructuring, the severe weaknesses of the social protection system, and the continued daily suffering of broad segments of society, despite the concrete improvement in the conditions of employees in the various organs of the state. This suffering is intensifying as a result of the huge shortage in services, especially electricity and water, in the fields of health and education, and in the distribution of food rations.

Effects of the global financial crisis on Iraqi economy and society

Our party has warned of the dangers of underestimating the level of the expected impact of the global crisis on our country, as reflected in statements by some officials and decision-makers. The course of the crisis, with its grave dimensions and ideological and political implications, has revealed that it has had a direct impact on our country. Day after day, it is becoming clear how superficial were the conclusions of some who claimed that Iraq would be immune from effects of the crisis. In reality, totally the opposite is true for a number of reasons, including:

- The one-sided rentier nature of the Iraqi economy. It is an economy that depends for its development on oil revenues. These revenues have been sharply affected by the global economic crisis and its repercussions, which has led to a decrease in oil revenues by about 70 percent (from $140 or more to less than $50 a barrel). This decline has directly effected the revenues available for the state budget and its operational capacity, although the Parliament prevented the government’s austerity measures from affecting public employees, pensioners, or food rations. But this does not mean that further reductions will be not be reflected in the lives of citizens or in investment allocations, as the government’s revenues are directly linked to the ongoing development of the global crisis and its severity.

- The Iraqi economy is also expected to be adversely affected by the reduced exchange rate of the dollar, because of its close connection with the exchange rate of the Iraqi dinar. This is reflected in a reduction of purchasing power. In addition, the dollar is the currency used for evaluating Iraq's oil revenues and is the largest proportion of Iraq's reserve assets of hard currency.

The conclusion that develops from the observations above is that it is necessary today to explain the adverse effects of the global crisis by applying transparency and clarity, on the one hand, and by launching a societal debate about the roots of the crisis, the possible negative repercussions on our national economy, and the ways to confront it and reduce its negative effects, on the other.

This crisis and its lessons emphasize the fallacy of the idea of calling for privatization without any conditions or restraint, and raises the need to revise the economic policy in general, so as to ensure harmony between fiscal and monetary policy. The latter should abandon its strict constraints with regard to interest rates and exchange rates, in order to encourage investment and stimulate productive activities, as well as for achieving the required balance between state intervention and market freedom.

It is important to note that the federal budget for 2009 has remained the captive of political conflicts. The conflict around the budget in parliament was not all about the budget itself, as there was also a desire to embarrass the government and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Our Party had a detailed position on this budget, and a lot of our remarks were taken into account when the budget was drafted in its final form.

Democratic Current

The Central Committee meeting dealt with the issue of the democratic current and the need to activate it and seek a clear joint platform. The meeting stressed that in the face of the complexities of the political scene and the various polarizations – the emergence of new alliances and the disintegration of others – the forces that are concerned about the present and future of our country need to act and agree on joint positions on the basis of a political consensus on major issues. They need to pin their hopes on a project that transcends sectarianism and puts the emphasis on building a modern democratic state. This calls for the revitalization of our relations with the forces of the democratic current. We have sought to activate the relations between these forces, and have set up the coalition of 'Madaniyoun' (advocates of a democratic civil state). We now face the task, in consultation with other parties, of revitalizing it, either by maintaining or expanding it, in order to help to achieve the unity of the democratic current. We are aware of the scale of the difficulties and complexities experienced by this current and the conflicting views about its program and constituent forces. It is therefore necessary first to develop criteria for analyzing these forces and to determine their relationship with the democratic current. It is also important to act at the provincial level, to contact forces and initiate dialogue, as a preliminary step along the path of developing joint positions that are effective and have a serious impact on the people.

We realize that the activation and unification of the democratic current will not come all at once and cannot be achieved through a single framework. It is a process that that will achieve success through multiple levels and forms of action.

It is therefore important not to relinquish existing formats – we need to activate all of them and increase the level of coordination among them, developing the process in order to achieve a further harmonization and integration of activities. The various elements should all contribute to a single current whose features are determined by joint ideological and political positions across the broad spectrum of democratic forces. The deliberations of the Central Committee stressed that we are opposed to exclusion and marginalization, and that we need to direct all our efforts toward activating the contribution of the masses of people, because there can be no policy and no effective struggle without the active participation of the masses.

Conclusions and concrete tasks

• In view of the complex political scene, whose features have been outlined above, the situation remains open to many possibilities. This requires the political parties and blocs to reach a consensus that will ensure getting the country out of its present state of stagnation and tension, and put it on the path of building a democratic system based on reconstruction and development.

• In connection with the state of stagnation in the relations between political forces, and the widening of differences between the federal authority and the authority of the Kurdistan region, it is necessary to warn of the harm that arises from fueling narrow chauvinistic and nationalist sentiments, and the danger of manipulating the ongoing conflicts in Mosul and Kirkuk. Therefore, the forces that are concerned about the present and future of our country are required to reach joint positions on the basis of political consensus on major issues. They need to strive to solve problems in a spirit of dialogue and common interest. We must avoid abandoning the principle of consensus in the current conditions.

• We are facing a new round of struggle with the forces of terrorism, which have been weakened a lot by previous blows, without fully eliminating them. These forces are resuming their activity to adversely affect Iraq’s security and political course.

• The success of the national reconciliation process is primarily connected to providing the necessary conditions in order to build a new Iraq, the most important of which are sound and good relations among the various political forces (forces which were tested by the people during past decades in their struggle against the dictatorship). The current delicate situation requires that everyone live up to their national responsibility and deny the opportunity to those who want to harm our country and people. This requires the promotion of a spirit of brotherhood, political wisdom and prudence, dialogue to resolve differences, and a reasonable and realistic approach that refrains from dealing with important national issues, including the recent security gains, based on profit-and-loss calculations to achieve narrow goals, whether personal, partisan, sectarian or otherwise, without recognizing the seriousness and sensitivity of the situation and the risk that everyone will lose if we fail to work to together for the future of Iraq.

• Overcoming the multi-level crisis and reviving the Iraqi economy must be linked to the elaboration of a national development strategy with clear objectives. Until now, conflicting visions and 'strategies' have been struggling to overcome the crisis. The strategy required to address this crisis has to take into account the concrete needs of our country, society and economy, and its actual problems, in order to achieve the conditions for a sustainable development affecting all segments of the Iraqi people and the country’s areas and regions. This should be carried out without discrimination and in accordance with the principles of the efficient use of available resources, justice in distribution, and overcoming the inequalities inherited from previous eras.

• This means the need to review the overall economic policy and fiscal policy in particular, so as to achieve the required balance between state intervention and market freedom. It is important to avoid endorsing big projects, ambiguous partnerships, and new prescriptions without adequate controls, under the pretext of the scarcity of financial resources. The country is not facing a purely financial crisis today, but an economic crisis of structural dimensions, which requires a developmental strategy aimed at rebuilding and developing the productive sectors in accordance with clear priorities, and taking concrete steps to protect national production, encourage investment, and combat corruption.

• The recent provincial elections have revealed a big paradox between the popular ideas and themes advocated by the democratic current and the small number of votes achieved by its political forces. All the constituent forces and figures of this current, including our Party, must develop and activate the relations between them. These relations need to be upgraded through a variety of unified political and mass initiatives, and through activities that strengthen the influence of the democratic current on a mass level and increase its impact.

• Regardless of the Party’s approach to political alliances and their importance in its struggle and achieving its objectives, we must continue our relentless efforts to strengthen the independent role of our Party and its real influence among the masses on a sound political, social-economic and ideological basis. This requires that our party organizations evaluate, in a critical manner, the methods and mechanisms of its current work among the masses of workers, farm laborers, students, youth, women, intellectuals, etc. They need to draw appropriate lessons in order to activate this work, which is vital for strengthening party organizations and comrades, so that we can face in an effective way the challenging demands of the forthcoming period.

• The recent provincial elections have demonstrated an important lesson: that active mass democratic work is necessary, essential and effective. We must grasp this lesson all the time, especially in the days ahead. Therefore, we must pay more attention to a mass movement that fights for popular demands, and the real meaning of that movement. This is of crucial importance for developing our work and for our future election campaigns.