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