Two articles on the Iraqi elections security plan unveiled today: from AFP and from AP.
[unfortunately both are short on details, and include lots of boilerplate violence updates. If any reader spots an article with more details, please email the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.]
The top Islamic scholar of the highest Sunni institute called on Iraqis to participate in the Jan. 30 elections, a Saudi newspaper reported Saturday. The official al-Riyadh daily quoted Sheikh Mohammad Tantawi, the head of the Cairo-based al-Azhar, as saying all Iraqis should take part in the general elections in order to form a legitimate government and retrieve Iraqi sovereignty and independence. (UPI via Washington Times)
[refresh of earlier article] Iraqis abroad should use the facilities provided for voting in the Jan. 30 elections as democratic rule is the best answer to the resistance, the Iraqi politician Adnan Pachachi said yesterday. Pachachi spoke to about 250 Iraqi residents of Jordan in an Amman hotel where he was campaigning for his Independent Democrats Party, which has fielded a slate of 76 candidates for the elections. He was accompanied by Iraqi Planning Minister Mahdi Al-Hafidh, who is a member of the party. (Al-Jazeerah.info)
And some commentary:
The White House is looking ahead to an even more closely watched exercise in democracy, the elections in Iraq scheduled for the end of January. Both votes raise the same question: Is holding an election the benchmark of democracy? The answer depends on whether the election yields a government that is legitimate in the eyes of the majority of the people. The best measure of legitimacy is competitiveness and voter participation. Does an election offer real choice? And how many voters come to the polls? On both counts, the picture in the occupied territories is a mixed one - and even more so in Iraq. (KeralaNext.com)