Saturday, January 31, 2009

Low-Bloodshed Elections In Iraq

Iraq recently concluded an election in which lots of people voted, and apparently no-one died. Five candidates were assassinated in the days leading up to the election, but voters were able to cast their ballots without significant incident. Well, mortars fired near Tikrit might have been an incident, but mortar operators apparently lacked either the competence or the luxury of opportunity needed to bring fire to bear on actual polling places or voter congregations. The old lady pictured in the second link probably remembers Iraq before Hussein, and I hope she has a long opportunity to direct the country toward the kind of enlightenment that will keep women voting in Iraq for generations.

As for the current voters, they include folks who didn't participate in prior elections due to fear of violence:
"I just voted and I'm very happy," Mukhalad Waleed, 35, said in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Province. "We could not do the same thing the last time because of the insurgency."
via International Herald-Tribune
Broadening participation should encourage broadening feeling that the public is being represented. The decline in abstention from the elections seems to indicate both increased confidence in the safety of participating, and the improved view that democratic government (as opposed to participation in opposition militias) is the answer to the problems of Iraq.

Some Sunnis, like Khaled al-Azemi, said the boycott last time had been a mistake.

"We lost a lot because we didn't vote and we saw the result - sectarian violence" he told the BBC.

"That's why we want to vote now to avoid the mistakes of the past."

via BBC


Extended an hour due to heavy turnout, Iraq's elections were hailed by its Prime Minister as a victory for the whole country.

Hear, hear.

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