Day by Day

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Iraq Elections Huge Success

Reported by The BBC no less.

Here is a sample.

Issam al Ainachi : Basra : 1223 GMT
People have been literally streaming towards polling stations. I have never witnessed this huge turnout for long time.

I heard some people said they want the voting period extended because they do not think all people will have a chance to do so by 1700 local time when polls are due to close.

Christian Fraser : Al Amarah : 1035 GMT
We were told the Shia would turn out in big numbers and so it has proved. From Basra to Al Amarah, to the northern most sections of the British zone, thousands of people are lined up on the streets.

Even in the smaller provincial towns 400 kilometres from Basra, towns like Ali al-Ghabi and Komait, where there are only a handful of polling stations, the queues are several hundred deep.

From the air we could see thousands of people heading to the towns, some in groups, some on buses coming from all directions.

Mohammad Hussein : Najaf : 1018 GMT
A lot of women turned out and their numbers dwarf those of the men. I have seen very old people unable to walk, I have seen blind people being led to the polling stations.

Some of them told me they are taking part in the elections because the Grand Ayatollah has issued an Islamic decree which makes voting a religious duty.

Ben Brown : Basra : 0905 GMT
Turnout here has been extraordinary. We've been to a few polling stations in the city centre and we've seen huge queues of men and women who were searched separately.

Some have had to wait for an hour before casting their ballot. For the majority Shias down here in the south, who were repressed by Saddam Hussein, the taste of democracy today is particularly sweet. They are relishing this opportunity to get out onto the streets and vote.


There is a great sub story here - huge numbers of Iraqi women voting.

Congratulations to the brave Iraqi people, a hearty well done to the coalition forces and a huge thank you to the America and Britain.

Hopefully we will soon see the same freedom granted to all the countries of the Middle East.
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