Iraqi parliamentary candidate for Beth Nahrain Patriotic Union Joseph Sliwa: “Our biggest concerns lie in the possible theft of quota seats by the dominant parties”

ANKAWA, Iraq — Beth Nahrain Patriotic Union candidate for the upcoming Iraqi parliamentary election on October 10, Joseph Sliwa has expressed his concern about possible election manipulation by Shia and Kurdish influential parties and political alliances with the voting results of the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian quota. In an interview with Ankawa.com, he warned for the possibility of ‘theft’ of parliamentary quota seats which will harm the fate of Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people in Iraq; “our biggest concerns lie in the possible theft of quota seats by the dominant parties.”

He indicated that he does not expect a large turnout among Chaldeans-Syriacs-Assyrians in the upcoming general elections, because they have little to no hope and trust in Iraq’s current political quagmire. The exclusion of Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian votes abroad also plays a negative role. In the Ankawa.com interview, Sliwa calls the exclusion of Iraqis abroad from participating in the general Iraqi elections in violation of the Iraqi constitution and democratic values.

The Beth Nahrain Patriotic Union candidate however, is optimistic; “I will do my best to achieve the goals of our Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people through the Iraqi Constitution, so that our people can determine their own destiny without outside interference.” Sliwa expects to collect votes from voters in various governorates, including Baghdad, Basra, Kut, Nasiriyah, Salah al-Din, Diyala, Kerkeslokh (Kirkuk), Sulaymaniyah, and Erbil: “it is difficult to determine the percentage from any governorate, but I believe I will get the trust and votes from most of the Iraqi governorates, because we humbly work with a purely Iraqi national ambition.”

The party program of the Beth Nahrain Patriotic Union (Huyodo d-Bethnahrin Athroyo, HBA) focuses on three pillars, the Iraqi national, the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian national, and the humanitarian. Sliwa said to Ankawa.com that regarding the Iraqi national pillar in his election manifesto, his party strives for Iraq to be free from all foreign interference, to cooperate with regional countries in diplomatic relations on an equal basis and in common interest, and be financially independent with a free economy that serves the country and its citizens in the first place.

On the humanitarian pillar, Sliwa indicated that his manifesto contains an agenda that urges the Iraqi government to develop and raise the situation of all Iraqi citizens, as in other countries in the world that respect human rights; “A discourse and thought must be established in which the Iraqi citizen is primary, and the state must deal with its citizens according to modern democratic concepts, far away from the old traditional concepts.”

With regard to the national Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian pillar, the most important point is to establish equality with the rest of the other components in accordance with the federal Iraqi constitution. This means Chaldean Syriac-Assyrian people obtain their constitution rights without interference from other powers. This also includes the right to self-administer themselves, Sliwa said.

Joseph Sliwa was previously active in the Iraqi Communist Party and Member of Iraqi Parliament from 2014-2018. Iraqi parliament has five quota seats reserved for Syriacs (Arameans-Assyrians-Chaldeans). The five seats are currently occupied by MPs Rehan Hanna (Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian Popular Council), Hoshyar Yalda (Chaldean Coalition), Yonadam Kanna (Rafidain), Aswan Salem and Baida Khidir (both Babylon Movement). Evan Faeq Jabro is Minister for Immigration and Displacement in the Iraqi government.