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Iraqi elections roundup

It looks like the Iraqi elections yesterday went ok. The triumphalism of the Iraqi hawks is pretty odd, though, considering that thi election is essentially due to Sistani, over the objections of the Bush administration. The day was fairly violent: 44 deaths and 260 attacks. Considering the massive security measures in place, that may not be a good sign. We still don’t know about turnout, which is a big deal. Early estimates had turnout at 72% overall, though now it appears to be down to 60%, with Sunni turnout at 20%. I wanted to point out some of the interesting commentary on the elections:

Eric Alterman compares the situation to San Salvador in 1984. He has a turnout figure of 53%, which I can’t find a source for. Also, scroll down to Charles Pierce’s contribution.

Juan Cole has a couple interesting posts. Definitely required reading.

This Bull Moose post is your third required reading piece.

UPDATE: There’s a bit more on the turnout figures here, but the numbers still haven’t been announced. (via Altercation).

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Categories: Iraq
  1. Andy
    February 1, 2005 at 8:24 am | #1

    Not to be snide (Me, snide? Never!), but if it turns out that 60% of Iraquis voted, that’s substantially more than vote in our country, where there is not election-related violence. Pretty good for an election that wasn’t ever going to happen.

  2. February 1, 2005 at 12:12 pm | #2

    Actually, 60% is exactly the number that voted last election here, I believe. Plus, I would hope Iraqis are more excited about voting than the people in this country. In any case, 60% is pretty good, but Sunni turnout is important just by itself.

  3. February 1, 2005 at 5:53 pm | #3

    If they become a true democratic nation, give them a bit of time and pretty soon they’ll all stay at home on election day.

    In my mind, these elections are nice, but really a token gesture. Not much changes until the “terrists” decide to in some manner acknowledge the legitimacy of the new gov’t.

  4. Andy
    February 2, 2005 at 7:54 am | #4

    You’re right, of course. It IS merely the beginning step. But an important one, that went quite well, all things considered.

    As for the Sunnis, I just do not feel any great sense of tragedy that they did not vote in large numbers. They childishly boycotted the elections; they now must live with the results. It’s no different than someone who stays home from voting here because “it won’t make any difference.” Ugh.

  5. February 2, 2005 at 9:34 am | #5

    “As for the Sunnis, I just do not feel any great sense of tragedy that they did not vote in large numbers. They childishly boycotted the elections; they now must live with the results. It’s no different than someone who stays home from voting here because “it won’t make any difference.” Ugh.”

    That’s not the point. A government disproportionately dominated by Shia only alienates them further and increases the potential for violence. A poor Sunni turnout doesn’t bode well for the relaxing of tensions in Iraq.

  6. Andy
    February 3, 2005 at 8:18 am | #6

    I haven’t read the Iraqui constitution, but it obviously needs to contain some safeguards for the rights of the minorities, as ours does, whether or not the minorities actually accept the document meant to protect their interests.

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