Iraqi Elections - Discuss

No-one seems to have brought this up yet so I thought I would.

Usual lazy sunday afternoon, but been glued to sky +bbc news most of the day, watching the news about the elections. Question to the forum:

Is the success (so-far) of the Iraqi elections vidication of the invasion overall, regardless of pre-war reasons stated (i.e. those pesky WMD's)?

Will the large voter turn-out, even larger than expected in some sunni areas, provide an example to the rest of the middle east?

Will it ease some anit-american feelings amongst the rest of the world?

What effect, if any, will it have on the palestine issue? Iran? N Korea?
The election while very successful is just the first phase as Iraq moves down the road toward democracy. The success today is a sharp repudiation of the insurgency and exposes their argument that Iraq is occupied as a lie. The people may well become emboldened. If there were 40,000 insurgents then why were there no nationwide assault on the polling sites ? This may show that the true numbers of insurgents to be alot less or less committed to their cause. The next big election will happen in December I believe when a new government will be voted into office.
The election process is just one stage in a long process. Nothing can be call success or failure at this stage. Next worry is what the newly-elected do. Decisions actioned or just a talking shop slagging off the other sides? There may be more of a joint turn out for the next election depending on what happens with the new Iraqi powers in charge. Any future also depends on presence of coalition troops or not.
Is the success (so-far) of the Iraqi elections vidication of the invasion overall, regardless of pre-war reasons stated (i.e. those pesky WMD's)?
Dont know about a full vindication of the conflict, but I can foresee a certain PM stepping out from No10 to beam a smile and pass comment on it's (the election's) success. No doubt utilising it for his own devices with regards to 'clearing' his and his buddy in the US's concience.

Good to see that those voting from the UK managed to get a scuffle in, or three... :roll:
Thanks for the CIA and STATE/USAID view Tom. Now what do the Iraqi people think?

Some interesting percentage figures given by the election spokesmen in Iraq , I wonder how they managed the breakdowns of voter profile so quickly?
There are around 250,000 Iraqi expatriates in Britain, of which 30,961 have registered to vote over three days in London, Manchester and Glasgow.,,30000-1169232,00.html

I find that figure alarmingly low!

And I doubt it will get better if they continue to allow voting to be dogged by anti coalition demonstrations led by Non Iraqi people and organisations.

At least they had a good turnout in Iraq, which was very brave of Iraqis to do in the circumstances.
The reason that figure is low is they will have registered on the Council Tax/Income Tax/Nat Ins/Pay up regardless register if they made their presence truly known.

My last CR said cynic too.
Seems to have all gone off rather well - a turnout that would make a Western country jelous, and only 28 dead (could have been thousands).

And plus, the Sunnis who boycotted now look like a bunch of tits - if they whinge that they're under-represented, that's cos they told their guys not to turn out. Had the overall turnout been pants, then they would have been vindicated.

As for the whole supposed under-representation of sunnis, if they are 10% of the population, then the representation should be about 10% - that's how a democracy works. It's not perfect, but nobody's yet come up with a better idea. What do the european Leftie journos suggest - that the parliament be weighted unnaturally in their favour? :roll:
Excellent Torygraph editorial:

Iraq confounds the prophets of doom
(Filed: 31/01/2005)

That elections are a better thing than tyranny seems a truth so obvious as not to be worth stating. Yet such were the passions aroused by the Iraq war that many Western observers now find themselves hoping, disgracefully, that that country's first free poll will fail.

Left-wing commentators, in Britain as in much of Europe, have focused disproportionately on the difficulties that any state must undergo during a transition process. To many of them, every terrorist bomb, every murdered election official, every sign of heightened military alertness - even the loss of a British aircraft - makes a nonsense of Iraq's democratic aspirations.

Yesterday's high turnout, in defiance of the gunmen, should be celebrated. Of course the Iraqi insurgency is an important story. But this does not explain the loving attention devoted to each setback faced by the forces of order. Compare yesterday's reports with those by the same commentators during South Africa's first democratic election. Then, too, there were many technical problems: electors who were not properly registered, voter intimidation, long queues. But these things were set in their proper context, as the backdrop against which the moving drama of people casting their first ballots was being played out. No one suggested that the clashes between IFP and ANC supporters in Zululand undermined the whole process. No one argued that the backlash by a handful of black homeland chieftains and Boer irreconcilables made South Africa unfit for democracy.

Looking to hang their doubts on something specific, the cynics focus on the ejection of the Sunni Arabs from their traditionally dominant position, and the prospect of a permanent Shia majority. There is plainly some truth in this analysis. A combination of sulkiness and intimidation has led to large-scale abstentions among those who prospered most under the old regime: Saddam's townsmen in Tikrit, for example, seem largely to have stayed at home. Meanwhile, the Shias, sensing that they may be the masters now, have flocked to the polls in huge numbers. None of this, though, is an argument against conducting a ballot. To return to our earlier parallel, no one contended that the likelihood of a permanent ANC majority - or, to make the analogy more precise, a permanent black majority - invalidated the concept of South African democracy. No one wrote sympathetic pieces about the plight of the Afrikaners as they lost their hegemony.

In any case, why assume the worst? It is possible that Iraq will become a second Lebanon, in which different religious groups refuse to accept each other's legitimacy; or a second Iran, led by Shia ayatollahs. Equally, though, Iraq may turn into a secular democracy - imperfect, no doubt, as all states are, but far happier than it was. After all, the Iranian people are clamouring louder than ever against government by their mullahs. It is surely somewhat patronising to believe that their Iraqi co-religionists want to saddle themselves with their own theocracy. Remember that this is an election to a constituent assembly, not a full parliament: though their votes may be few, Sunni Arabs will almost certainly be given a voice in framing the constitution commensurate with their real numbers. The more fair-minded among them have long since accommodated themselves to the new reality.

No democratic election is flawless. It is human nature that the loser in any system should blame the system rather than himself: think, for example, about our own squabbles over postal voting, the West Lothian Question, or the wording of referendums. But, yesterday, Iraq became the most democratic country in the Arab world. What a pity that so many writers who, in other circumstances, are optimists about human progress, should shut their eyes to what is happening. In their determination to say "I told you so", they are coming perilously close to siding with jihadi murderers. Shame on them.

As my mate would say... has everyone been sniffing the glue??

Leaving aside the stuff from Tomahawk, have we not missed the point here? Whether these elections are a success is irrelevant. They are only a stepping-stone to the end state. Let us assume that the Sunni's accept their poor position. It does not change the fact that the leading parties campaigned for the withdrawal of ALL FOREIGN forces, i.e. Coalition and Foreign fighters.

The real challenge come in the next two years, are the Iraqi's able with good mentorship to build the building blocks of a democratic society free from significant corruption? The risk is that corruption will drive the young and unemployed into the arms of a long-term (Islamic) insurgency (which will continue). We should be prepared to expect 1-2 collation casualties a day (the current rate) for another few years or until troop numbers are reduced significantly. Also if corruption becomes embedded, it not only slow the progress of reconstruction but also undermine the credentials of any democratically elected government.

The vindication of the operation can only be measured in many years time, when we look at Iraq and Afghanistan and determine whether they are failed states. I genuinely hope that they succeed.

I fear that it is one thing to get people to vote; it is another to empower them, to make them strong enough to reject and report corruption when so few people are employed and many are living on the edge of poverty.

Only time will tell.....forget the sound bites and lets encourage the underpinning institutions of any democracy:

A free press.
Open government.
Transparent finances.

Sadly that means that Al Jazeria should be permitted to return, that the allegations of mis-treatment by the Iraqi security forces are investigated, that the CPA and their Iraqi employees are investigated to account for the $8.8Bn that may have disappeared.
tomahawk6 said:
exposes their argument that Iraq is occupied as a lie.
a lie like the wmd's!. if they are not an occupying force then please explain what they are.
The problem with the "South Africa" argument is that, er, the situation was completely different in South Africa.

If it had been necessary to ban all travel, road vehicles, civil air movements, impose a curfew, keep the names of the candidates secret, keep the polling places secret, not have any election in some parts of the country and still only keep the number of deaths from Boer suicide bombers down to 44+15 in a Herc, I think we would all have been a tad concerned about South Africa.
I heard something that tickled my fancy.

Because of the the unique conditions, one Expert surgested on the Beeb, that the Communist party of Iraq would gain alot of votes.

Oh how I'd love to see bush and his right wing clique hear that news. Commies incharge of the 2nd and 3rd bigest oil produceing contries (I think).

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