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Latest news from Iraq

Elections a success as Iraqis turn out in force to have a say in their future

March 31, 2010

Against all odds, Iraq’s 7 March elections turned out to be a success. The fact that they were held at all was in itself an achievement, given the acrimony that has surrounded the entire process in recent months. Yet despite violence, the furore over the expulsion of former Ba’athist candidates and the threat of a boycott by the Sunnis, Iraqis most definitely proved that they wanted a say in the future political make-up of their country and were keen to have it through the ballot box. Voter turnout was exceptionally high, averaging around 62%. This was a remarkable endorsement of the democratic process, given the threat of violence around polling stations. At least 38 people were killed on election day in attacks in Baghdad, Mosul, Fallujah, Baquba and elsewhere, although the much-feared large- scale suicide bombings did not materialize.

[...] According to the Iraqi High Electoral Commission 272,016 Iraqis living abroad participated in the elections in 16 countries. The election was also a rare chance for the country’s competing factions to come together and participate in a truly national process, something that prompted a rare feel-good factor among Iraqis. The elections also brought praise from around the world. The United Nations congratulated the Iraqi people and the secretary general’s special representative, Ad Melkert, declared that the route to recovery and stability “appears to be genuinely routed in the wish of the overwhelming majority of the Iraqi people that reason prevails over confrontation and violence”.



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