Iraqi PM says not all of Iraq will have elections

Well, it’s official. Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said today (BBC) that “some pockets” of Iraq will not participate in the elections on January 30th.


Presumably it would be because of the security situation.

He said the pockets “are not large”… but until we learn exactly who will and will not be voting we can’t say how many Iraqis will be denied their right to vote.

By “not large” he could mean small geographic areas… but if that small area is, say, Sadr City… then we could be talking 10 000 or even 100 000 people.

That’s not insignificant, especially since it’s most likely that the groups that are affected will likely be specific ehtnic groups (Sunni, if it’s in the Triangle, Kurd if its’ in Mosul or Kirkuk, Shiite if its’ in the South)

I simply don’t understand how a country can hold a national election and call it completely legitimate when the entire voting population is not permitted to vote.

Not being *able* to vote because you can’t get to your particular voting station is one thing… but not HAVING a voting station, or any other option for voting is simply unacceptable. Again, I ask the general reader.. if you were not allowed to vote, but your neighbour in another city could… how would you feel? It’s insanity.

For the most part, Iraq is not a third world country. The vast majority of the population has access to electricity (current troubles aside), phone, and a community centre.

Why can’t Iraqis in these “pockets” do absentee voting?
Why can’t these people mail in their selections?
Why can’t they do early voting at a heavily defended station?

All that said… I think it is clear now that the election is going ahead at all costs. I don’t actually think it will be particularly violent. There will be bombings, but for the most part it will be against the usual security and American targets, not Iraqis.

Once the election is done and the Shiite majority take power the real politics will start. Finally there will be an Iraqi based government, not one appointed by foreign powers. I’m hopefull that they will take strong steps to enforce the sovereignty of their nation.

Basically, I hope they make it very clear to the foreign military on their soil who is in charge. I believe they *must* do this to regain the trust of the Iraqi population. They must show that the Iraqi government, elected by (most of) the Iraqi people, is working for the Iraqi people. And it’s not being controlled by outside forces.

We on the outside can only watch and wait and hope for the best.

Update

Iraq the Model has a very interesting entry today about what will happen, or will not (civil war), after the elections and why.

3 thoughts on “Iraqi PM says not all of Iraq will have elections”

  1. The occuppying force joins you in your hope that the Iraqis will be strong enough to run their own country and as quickly as possible.
    Sooner than you think, the Iraqi NG will be in the forefront of all military activities. US trainers and military leaders are working hard to achieve this end.

    Your idea that Iraqis should be able to vote absentee is cute but naive. How’s the Post Office running in the dangerous areas, anyway? I think, chris, that sitting safely in an armchair in Vancouver makes the job of putting Iraq together in a democratic fashion seem like a no-brainer. Might be a bit different if bullets were whizzing and bombs going off down the street.

    After the election Iraq will be a fledgling democracy, imperfect but full of promise, like Afghanistan is. There, where war-lords rule and opium is the bumber crop, a woman now can walk the streets without hiding under a veil or with a man at her side, her daughters are now attending school, she can vote and she can also work at a job in order to feed her family if need be. Given time and support, Afghanistan’s democracy will strengthen and perhaps be as perfect as we would like it to be. I have this hope for Iraq. Will the critics ever be satisfied with a less than perfect Islamic state democracy? Probably not but that doesn’t detract from the achievements and improvements in such political changes.

  2. jane:

    if iraqi bloggers can post entries while their windows are shattered by bombs and gunfire and their electricity fades in and out I’m sure that the US and Iraqi forces can come up with a way for the Iraqi people to vote.

    It seems to me that the Iraqi people are far more willing to take risks than their interim government or US forces are willing to admit.

    If that means that US and Iraqi forces have to go door-to-door and present each Iraqi with a ballot then why is that so unreasonable.

    I do not ask for a “perfect” democracy… I simply ask that Iraqis be given the opportunity that they were promised when they were ‘liberated”

  3. Good points except I guess I’d just as soon not see anymore people. US or Iraqi, made targets while passing out ballots or mailing them back. I’ll be happy to see the election even though it will be less than perfect. After the constitution gets written, they will get another election soon enough to give them their first real government with hopefully all geographic areas fully franchised by then. (After WWII, Germany didn’t get their constitution until late 1949 and full elections after that. Rome, German, Afghanistan or Iraq wasn’t or won’t be built in a day.)

    You raise valid criticisms but still, in the scheme of things, this election will be a good start and it’s entirely possible that a whole lot more Sunnis will vote than you are anticipating. The important thing is to keep things in perspective.

    All observers of Iraq, with less than complete knowledge, will be speculating with fingers crossed to see if this election will bring needed stability in Iraq. I believe it will but it will not happen the day after the election. Keep in mind when you are thinking gloomy thoughts about the political environment in Iraq, that this insurrection does not have the will of the Iraqi people behind it. A rather small group financed by outsiders and aided by jihadists is causing fear and terror among the populace who do not widely support this cause in any significant way. This insurrection will gradually die out in the not too distant future. This is far from a Viet Nam where much of the population sided with the communists who were supported hugely by the USSR. There is no great power or Iraqi population backing this bunch of killers. They are doomed and will fail before the end of 2005, mark my words. Americans will come home hated by many but loved by the Kuwaitis, the Afghanis, the Israelis and even by the Iraqis.

    Sorry to go on so long (placing sop-box back in closet). Regards, Jane m

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