Thursday, December 15, 2005

HANDS UP FOR DEMOCRACY

(Picture courtesy of Yahoo!News)

Should be a fascinating day. The newswires are reporting only low level insurgency attacks and a strong Sunni turnout. From AP:
Iraqis voted in a historic parliamentary election Thursday, with strong turnout reported in Sunni Arab areas that had shunned balloting last January, bolstering U.S. hopes of calming the insurgency enough to begin withdrawing its troops.

Several explosions rocked Baghdad as the polls opened, including a large one near the heavily fortified Green Zone that slightly injured two civilians and a U.S. Marine, the U.S. military said. A civilian was killed when a mortar shell hit near a polling station in the northern city of Tal Afar, and a bomb killed a hospital guard near a voting site in Mosul.

But violence overall was light and did not appear to discourage Iraqis, some of whom turned out wrapped in their country's flag on a bright, sunny day, and afterward displayed a purple ink-stained index finger — a mark to guard against multiple voting.

...

In Baghdad's predominantly Sunni Arab Azamiyah district, the head of one polling station said that by midday, about a third of the 3,500 registered voters had turned out. In January, many polling stations in Azamiyah didn't even open.

Great news that Sunnis are voting. Their involvement in post-Saddam elections is absolutely essential for Iraq's fledgling democracy to continue to move forward and blossom.

For those who prefer their news not to be filtered via AP shades, Iraq The Model have eight correspondents liveblogging the election from different regions of Iraq.

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