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The Right Road to Sovereignty in Iraq: Avoiding the Dangers of Early Elections

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The Bush administration is pushing for elections in Iraq sometime next year. This extremely accelerated timetable is dangerous. Early elections in post-conflict situations can produce unstable results and favor radical groups over still-emergent moderate forces.

Because the administration has made elections a requisite for Iraqi sovereignty and faces growing pressure to transfer sovereignty, delaying elections is not an option. The solution is to limit the current constitution writing to an interim document that provides the framework for the election of a constituent assembly and an interim government of national unity. This would produce an elected Iraqi government to which sovereignty can be transferred and create a framework for the longer-term process of political consensus building necessary to create permanent democratic institutions.