A case study of Political Corruption in Conflict-Affected Societies (The Kurdistan Region of Iraq 2003-13)
thesisposted on 20.06.2017, 10:03 by Hemn Namiq Jameel
This thesis presents the analysis of a case study on political corruption in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The focus is on the democratic transition between 2003 and 2013 addressing three zones. The first area is associated with the ways the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) carries out public recruitment processes and allocates exceptional pensions. The second is about the ways in which media outlets are financed, and how this affects the position of the press in the fight against corruption. The final case is related to how political parties finance their activities, and how this process is linked to political corruption. The objectives of this study are to identify the traits and extent of political corruption, to determine potential reasons for the growing opportunities for it, and to provide possible recommendations to minimise corruption incentives. The central argument of this thesis is that the two dominant ruling parties benefited from their positions, managed to abuse government positions and to appropriate public wealth to serve their own ends in a critical transitional period. This analysis essentially relies on primary data gathered from face-to-face interviews conducted with relevant elites and from official documents. The findings of this analysis suggest that the KRG has applied informal procedures to exclusively recruit members of the ruling parties to its institutions, offering them public positions and allocating them exceptional pensions. It is also argued here that both parties have established a substantial number of partisan and semi-partisan press networks, funded by the KRG, to deliver their political sentiments and attack their opponents. This thesis further asserts that the ruling parties abused two core sources of party funding, namely public subsidies and private financial resources, to strengthen their domination and challenge any political party that sought to unseat them. These conditions have laid the grounds for the emergence of different forms of political corruption, including party patronage, clientelism and state capture, which have together created a vicious circle. Faced with these findings, this thesis finally proposes some policy recommendations to strengthen public institutions and reduce opportunities for political corruption.