Friday, January 28, 2005

Election worries neighbors across the Middle East. They fear Shiite rule, sectarian violence, instability and surge in democracy. (Detroit News)

Excited Iraqis braved freezing temperatures and tight security as they lined up Friday outside polling stations ranging from a furniture warehouse in Australia to a mosque in downtown Tehran to vote in their homeland's first independent elections in half a century. (AP)

Iraqi Turkmen head to the polls. The majority of Iraqi voters in Turkey are Turkmen expatriates wary over the future of the ethnically volatile oil-rich city of Kirkuk. (Al Jazeera)

Iraq's female candidates focus on rights (AP)

Violence update: Insurgents killed five American soldiers in separate attacks Friday in Baghdad and blasted more polling stations across the country, sending a message that if Iraqis suffer deaths and injuries on election day, "you have only yourselves to blame." (AP)

Pre-election curfews in force across Iraq. (Bob Hoffman's Political Gateway)

James J. Na: Profile of an Iraqi Politician (Real Clear Politics)

Trudy Rubin: For Iraq to succeed, it needs good winners. (Newsday)

Amir Taheri: Iraq may vote for gridlock. While some opponents of democracy in Iraq, both in Arab countries and the West, have used the specter of militant Shiism to oppose this weekend's elections, a more genuine concern is that voters may produce a hung parliament unable to produce the majorities needed to take the nation forward. (New York Post)

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