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IRAQ VOTES (moved from ATSNN)

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posted on Jan, 30 2005 @ 09:59 AM
Iraqis voted in their first free election in years. Around fifty seven percent of the fourteen million voters have already voted. The polling stations will close promptly at five p.m. but anybody already waiting in line will be able to cast his or her vote. Threats of terrorism have meant a low turnout from the Sunni population. All in all U.S. officials have said that voting was going smoother than they expected.
Smoother-than-expected voting
One U.S.-funded election observer said early reports pointed to smoother-than-expected voting, despite the violence.

“We’re hearing there has been fairly robust turnout in certain areas,” said Sam Patten, a member of the Baghdad team of the International Republican Institute.

The chief U.N. adviser to Iraq’s election commission, Carlos Valenzuela, also said turnout seemed to be good in most places.

Asked if reports of better-than-expected turnout in areas where Sunni and Shiite Muslims live together indicated that a Sunni cleric boycott effort had failed, one of the main groups pushing the boycott seemed to soften its stance.

“The association’s call for a boycott of the election was not a fatwa (religious edict), but only a statement,” said Association of Muslim Scholars spokesman Omar Ragheb. “It was never a question of something religiously prohibited or permitted.”

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I feel this a step up for Iraqis. However the only way to turn Iraq into a democracy is sadly, to send more troops in. To have a country where voting is looked upon as a dangerous and risky adventure is a nation where initial enthusiasm will be gradually replaced by fear. To keep that sense of hope Iraqis have to feel safe in their homes. The only way to do that is to have more troops on the ground which allows commanders to respond quickly to emergencies.

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[edit on 30-1-2005 by benedict arnold]

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