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Mar 13, 2019
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Algerian Diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi Warns: We Should Avoid Rushing into Elections So We Don't End Up Like Iraq or Libya

#7110 | 02:49
Source: Channel 3 (Algeria)

Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi said in a March 13, 2019 interview on Channel 3 TV (Algeria) that Algeria should fight against corruption vigorously and fix the flaws in its state, but that this should be done without dismantling the state in order to avoid ending up in a situation like Iraq or Libya. He said that the fighting should end and that elections should take place in the appropriate time. He explained that rushing into elections causes more problems than it solves because a country emerging from a civil war lacks mutual trust and does not benefit from the disunity that elections cause. He added: "Beware of elections for the sake of elections. That's what happened in Iraq." Brahimi is a former Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs and the former United Nations and Arab League Envoy to Syria.

Following are excerpts:

 

Lakhdar Brahimi: We must be wary of dismantling our state like Iraq and Libya were dismantled. There, it was done by foreigners, and we must not do the same to ourselves. We should engage in change… We talked about corruption. Yes, we do have corruption, and it must be fought against. It must be fought more vigorously that we have done thus far, but at the same time, we must beware not to dismantle the state. The state has been built with some successful aspects and some flaws. [We should] focus on the flaws and fix them. [We should] see what needs to be changed and change it completely, but [we should] not dismantle the state.

Interviewer: Do you think there is a desire to dismantle the state, via foreign intervention…

Lakhdar Brahimi: No. Someone wrote: "We need complete change now, today!" What does this mean? Complete change should be effected quickly, but in a pace that is possible rather than as fast as possible. I don't know if we have enough time, but there was a point of view in the United Nations that when a country emerges from a crisis or civil war, you should end the fighting and quickly organize elections. After a while, I started saying that this was wrong. [I think] you should end the war, and start organizing elections that will take place in the appropriate time. If you rush into elections faster than necessary, the elections will create more problems than they will solve. We’re talking about a country that is emerging from a civil war – people still lack mutual trust, yet you conduct elections. Elections do not unite people. They divide them. This is why the circumstances for successful elections must be created first. But beware of elections for the sake of elections. That's what happened in Iraq.

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