Monday, January 17, 2005

Exiled Iraqis began registering to vote Monday in their homeland's first independent election in nearly 50 years, with dozens arriving at polling stations from Australia to Britain - and many expressing confusion at the process. Iraqis can vote abroad in 14 countries and there is a seven-day registration period that ends Jan. 23. Voting will begin Jan. 28 and continue until the Jan. 30 election in Iraq. (AP)

The top US military official in Iraq predicted the landmark January 30 general elections would be disrupted by insurgent attacks, and the level of violence would continue unabated even after the polls. "We and the Iraqi Security Forces will do everything in our power to ensure that the average Iraqi can go out and vote safely. Is there going to be violence on Election Day? There is," General George W. Casey, commanding general of the US-dominated multinational forces in Iraq. (AFP via

A new poll shows Iraqis overwhelmingly support the country's Jan. 30 national assembly election. The poll, conducted in early January, shows that more than 90 percent of Iraqis believe it is important to vote in the election. A total of 82.9 percent said it was "very important," and 9.4 percent said it was "somewhat important." (US Dept. of Defense)

[a story Iraq Elections newswire reported on over a week ago] Anxious Iraqis Are Leaving Before Elections. Some Plan to Wait Out Vote Abroad; 'I Will Not Stay in Baghdad,' Commissioner Says. (Washington Post)

Iraqi Elections 2005. A Zinda Magazine Elections Special.

the United Nations envoy to the country has said that the impending Iraqi elections, scheduled to take place at the end of this month, must be as inclusive as possible. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative Ashraf Qazi called for greater efforts to reach out to Arab nationalists, especially the Sunni Muslims who have "voiced reservations" about the polling process. Mr Qazi made his comments in Damascus following a meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Al-Shara. (4 National News [Northern Ireland])

An Iraqi Turkmen party Thursday threatened to boycott the January 30 elections in the conflict-torn country unless Kurds in northern Iraq put an end to "games" to influence the outcome of the vote in Kirkuk, the oil-rich city which both communities claim. "We will be forced to reconsider our decision to participate in the elections... if the election structure and arrangements are continously tinkered with," a statement issued by the Ankara office of the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITC) said. (AFP via Kurdistan Observer)

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