Iraqis vote in massive numbers

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

BAQDAD, Iraq — The Iraqis turned out in large numbers to the national election of January 30, 2005, risking their lives and ignoring the threats and attacks of terrorist groups. The rebels caused at least 44 deaths during the election. Ten of the deaths were caused by suicide attacks. The Al-Qaeda organization announced on a website that 13 suicide attackers participated in the attacks.

An Iraqi citizen, turning his head to protect his identity, proudly displays the indelible ink on his finger as proof he has voted in Iraq's first free election. The inked finger became a symbol of the first free elections in Iraq after the downfall of Saddam Hussein's regime (DoD photo).
A ban on driving cars is no deterrent to hundreds of residents of the Al Monsour district of Baghdad, Iraq, as they walk along a freeway to head to the polls to cast their ballots during the first free Iraqi election in over 50 years - January 30, 2005 (DoD photo).

Despite the violence, a 'loosely estimated' 60% of the 14 million registered electors appeared to vote, according to the Electoral Commission. Proportional representation was the voting method used to select the members for a 275-strong assembly that will then draw up a constitution. The Iraqis faced up to threats, attacks, and the inconvenience of long lines caused by the security measures at polling booths.

This was the first free election held in Iraq in over 50 years. The 2005 Iraq election was very different than the previous one in 2002 during the regime of Saddam Hussein. At that time the Iraq elector was offered "yes" or "no" choices in a referendum for the only candidate, Saddam Hussein. The results of that election showed 100 percent in favor of Hussein in a 100 percent turnout. That election was called the mother of all election frauds, since any Iraqi elector who didn't appear and vote for Hussein was condemned to death. [1], [2]

Mahdeya Saleh, an 80 year old Iraqi citizen said: "I had often been forced to vote under Saddam Hussein. Today I come out of my own will to choose freely the candidate of my choice for the first and last time in my life." [3]

"Why should I be afraid?" Arifa Abed Mohamed told a Christian Science Monitor reporter at a Baghdad polling station. "I am afraid only from God."

Other Iraqis expressed a similar disregard for the rebels’ threats. “I would have crawled here if I had to,” Samir Hassan told a Reuters reporter. “I don’t want terrorists to kill other Iraqis like they tried to kill me.” Hassan lost his leg in an October 2004 car-bomb attack.

See also