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  • Monday, January 31, 2005

    Provisional turnout at 57%, more than 40 killed

    Yesterday, figures were touted of a 72% turnout in Iraq's so called "free and fair" elections. We now know that figure was based on "a guess", and that the "elections" were not free and fair. Apparently, more than 40 people were killed in attacks yesterday in Iraq, the electoral commission's "provisional estimate" for turnout is now at 57% and all the leading candidates are demanding a timetable for US led forces to get out of their country. See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts


    At 2/01/2005 01:56:00 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Millions Vote in Iraq Election, Turnout Estimated at 57%
    In Iraq, millions of voters took part Sunday in an election to form the country's new national assembly. It was the first contested election in Iraq in a half century. Iraqi election officials initially put the turnout at 72%. But it emerged later the actual turnout was closer to 57 percent. An estimated 8 million of the country's 14 million eligible voters took part. In the Kurdish area, turnout was reported to be over 90 percent but in certain Sunni areas the polls never even opened. The final results are not expected for another 10 days but preliminary results could be released today. In Baghdad pollworkers began counting ballots Sunday night but needed to do so by candlelight due to ongoing electricity outages.

    44 Die in Over 175 Attacks Across Iraq
    Although the country was in a state of lockdown, Iraqi fighters carried out about 175 attacks killing 44 people.

    Sunnis Boycott Election Casting Questions of Legitimacy
    While turnout appeared higher than expected, journalist Robert Fisk reports that the turnout should be seen as both a victory and a tragedy. Fisk writes "For while the Shias voted in the millions with immense courage, the Sunni voice of Iraq remained silent, casting into semi-illegitimacy the national assembly." Fisk went on to report that no one he spoke to expects the resistance to end and that many fear it will grow more ferocious if the Sunnis are underrepresented in the new Shiite and Kurdish-led government. Earlier today interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi vowed to begin a "national dialogue to guarantee that the voices of all Iraqis are present in the coming government."

    Meanwhile former presidential candidate John Kerry questioned the election's legitimacy. He told Tim Russert on Meet the Press "It is hard to say that something is legitimate when whole portions of the country can't vote and doesn't vote."

    Poll: 82% of Sunnis & 69% of Shiites Want U.S. Withdrawal
    And opposition to the presence of 150,000 U.S. troops in Iraq remains high throughout Iraq. A new Zogby poll shows that 82 percent of Sunni and 69 percent of Shiites now favor U.S. forces withdrawing either immediately or after an elected government is in place.

    One Iraqi Shiite leader at the [World Social] forum, Sheik Jawad Khalisi, said "These elections are not elections for the Iraqi people, but for George Bush."

    Iraqis Say Election Felt Like Movie Directed by the U.S.
    Patrick Cockburn of the Independent reported from Baghdad that several Iraqis interviewed said that they saw the election like a movie directed by the Americans to impress the outside world. One unemployed carpenter said, "It is like a film. Whatever happens it is the Americans who will control the next government."

    At 2/01/2005 02:13:00 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    "[T]he Shiites were not voting for democracy, although they'd very much like to have it and believe in it. Many of them expressed their views forthrightly inside the polling station. They were coming to vote because al-Sistani told them to. “We're coming to vote because we weren't allowed to do so before. We're coming to vote because we want the Americans to leave.”

    "Now it is all very well for the American media that they came to vote for democracy. They probably did. But they also came because they think and believe and are convinced of the fact that by voting that they'll have a free country without an occupation force. If they are denied this, if they feel they are betrayed that their vote is worth nothing, of course a different question arises. What will they think of democracy and will they join the insurgency? The Kurds, of course, voted for their own autonomy and they are the most pro-American of all Iraqis and in a sense, you see, although they voted in the Iraqi election, they were in a sense trying to continue to vote themselves out of Iraq. The more autonomy they had, and the flags you saw in the streets were Kurdistan not Iraqi, the nearer they are to the independents which Kurdish people have been demanding for so many decades. Indeed at least 200 years.

    "So, what you've got was an election which showed immense courage on behalf of the Shiites. Perhaps less courage on the Kurds who anyways live in the most stable area of Iraq. Nonetheless, they went to vote and have been threatened in the past and a total abstention by Sunni Muslims and the latter, of course, is -- this is the problem. If there is to be a national assembly, which is generally representative of the Iraqi people and this election was for a government, not for an assembly to choose a constitution, upon which there must be a referendum, another election for a new government, and then what is the legitimacy of a new parliament? It's 20% of the population. The only section of the population which is actively and violently resisting the Americans is not represented. This is the real problem, you see. Either the Shiites are going to find themselves betrayed because what they want is not going to be forthcoming; of course they want to run the next government. They want to be -- they would like this to be a Shia country. They don't want an Islamic republic, but they want power because they are 60% of the population and for 100 years, they haven't been able to be represented in that way.

    "What this election has done is not actually a demonstration of people who demand democracy, but they want freedom of a different kind, freedom to vote, but also freedom from foreign occupation. And if they are betrayed in this, then we are going to look back and regret the broken promises. But certainly even the Iraqi soldiers guarding one of the polling stations and the fact that they were all wearing black hoods so they couldn't be identified tells you the dismal sense of security here with the same thing -- we want the Americans to go. But, of course, we're not seeing any promises to do that. And Iyad Allawi, the Prime Minister who, of course, was a former CIA agent and was appointed by the Americans, who may well be reappointed with their assistance as head of a coalition new government after the parliament is formed, all he says is we don't want the Americans to leave yet, but this is a great victory over terrorism.
    - http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/01/31/1516244

    Listen here:

    At 2/01/2005 01:08:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...


    Will Vote for Food?

    by Dahr Jamail
    BAGHDAD - Voting in Baghdad was linked with receipt of food rations, several voters said after the Sunday poll.

    Many Iraqis said Monday that their names were marked on a list provided by the government agency that provides monthly food rations before they were allowed to vote.

    "I went to the voting center and gave my name and district where I live to a man," said Wassif Hamsa, a 32-year-old journalist who lives in the predominantly Shia area Janila in Baghdad. "This man then sent me to the person who distributed my monthly food ration."

    Mohammed Ra'ad, an engineering student who lives in the Baya'a district of the capital city, reported a similar experience.

    Ra'ad, 23, said he saw the man who distributed monthly food rations in his district at his polling station. "The food dealer, who I know personally of course, took my name and those of my family who were voting," he said. "Only then did I get my ballot and was allowed to vote."

    "Two of the food dealers I know told me personally that our food rations would be withheld if we did not vote," said Saeed Jodhet, a 21-year-old engineering student who voted in the Hay al-Jihad district of Baghdad.

    There has been no official indication that Iraqis who did not vote would not receive their monthly food rations.

    Many Iraqis had expressed fears before the election that their monthly food rations would be cut if they did not vote. They said they had to sign voter registration forms in order to pick up their food supplies.

    Their experiences on the day of polling have underscored many of their concerns about questionable methods used by the U.S.-backed Iraqi interim government to increase voter turnout.

    Just days before the election, 52-year-old Amin Hajar who owns an auto garage in central Baghdad had said: "I'll vote because I can't afford to have my food ration cut … if that happened, me and my family would starve to death."

    Hajar told IPS that when he picked up his monthly food ration recently, he was forced to sign a form stating that he had picked up his voter registration. He had feared that the government would use this information to track those who did not vote.

    Calls to the Independent Electoral Commission for Iraq (IECI) and to the Ministry of Trade, which is responsible for the distribution of the monthly food ration, were not returned.

    Other questions have arisen over methods used to persuade people to vote. U.S. troops tried to coax voters in Ramadi, capital city of the al-Anbar province west of Baghdad, to come out to vote, AP reported.

    (Inter Press Service)

    At 2/01/2005 07:24:00 pm, Blogger Voice 1 said...

    Thank you, there's a post somewhere here about bribing Iraqis to vote with the threat of not allowing those who refuse to vote to get their food rations. That's a disgrace.


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