Wednesday, February 2, 2005


Great article on a U.N. electoral official's view on the Iraq elections:

Carina Perelli, who has helped advise on dozens of elections from East Timor to the Palestinian territories, called the Jan. 30 election a "dignified, peaceful demonstration" of Iraqis' will.

About 40 people were killed but she told a news conference it had been a feat that no polling station was closed for the day because of security fears.

"I have participated in many elections in my life and I usually say that the day you lose your ability to be moved by people going to vote, you should change your career," said Perelli, who had insisted for months that U.N. advisers would leave pronouncements on the election to Iraq's electoral commission. "This was probably one of the most moving elections I have ever seen."


The New Iraq

So much for the argument that Arabs don't want democracy.

Monday, January 31, 2005

The world won't know for a week or longer which candidates won yesterday's historic Iraq elections, but we already know the losers: The insurgents. The millions of Iraqis who defied threats and suicide bombers to cast a ballot yesterday showed once and for all that the killers do not represent some broad "nationalist" resistance.

The true Iraqi patriots are those who risked their lives to vote, apparently in much larger numbers than anticipated. "I would have crawled here if I had to," 32-year-old Samir Hassan, who lost a leg in a car-bomb blast last year, told Reuters. "I don't want terrorists to kill other Iraqis like they tried to kill me." Yesterday's coverage on TV and in print was full of similar comments from Iraqis--which is especially notable since so much of the Western press has been anticipating a much worse outcome. (See today's Wall Street Journal for an Iraqi blogger's eye-witness account.)

The early estimate of a 72% turnout made by Iraq's Independent Electoral Commission was later reduced to a little more than 60%, or about eight million of the nearly 14 million registered voters. That would still put turnout at roughly the same as America's vote last November, which was the highest in the U.S. since 1968 and took place without any risk of being shot by a sniper or blown up by a car bomb. Another quarter of a million Iraqi exiles also voted, or 90% of those who registered. (full article)

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