Iraqi Prelate Confident Exiled Christians Will Return

A «New Iraq Is Being Born,» Says Prelate

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ROME, FEB. 20, 2005 ( After the elections in Iraq, the archbishop of Kerkuk is confident that exiled Christians will return to their native country.

A «new Iraq is being born,» said Archbishop Louis Sako, in a message circulated by Aid to the Church in Need.

«Something important has happened,» said the archbishop. «The new government is not totalitarian, or one party, as it was for more than 50 years. Now it will be pluralist.»

In the vote last month the United Iraqi Alliance won 140 seats, the Kurds won 70, interim Prime Minister Avad Allawi’s coalition won 40, and others, including Christians, won the remaining seats.

According to Archbishop Sako, Iraqi Christians won up to 10 seats in the National Assembly. He hopes that Chaldeans and Assyrians might be able to exercise a political influence that will improve their situation in the country.

The archbishop stated that the elections had paved the way for meaningful debate between Iraq’s different factions, a complete break from the country’s long years of control and oppression.

He added that these are the first tentative steps towards democracy, which might encourage the country’s vast exiled Christian community to return to Iraq.

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