Friday, January 21, 2005

United Nations diplomats are warning that Iraq's first democratic election will be held without wide-scale international monitoring. The UN says it cannot observe the January 30 poll because it played a role in setting up the elections, and no other international organisation has stepped in to offer assistance. (Financial Times)

Iraqi blogger Ali of Free Iraqi reports on the details of extensive polls of 300 Iraqi men and women regarding the upcoming Iraqi elections, along with analysis of the poll giving breakdowns by district.

The Nation: Iraq's Lost Elections. In the run-up to the January 30 election in Iraq, the prospects for a fair and credible outcome have steadily diminished. As Dexter Filkins of the New York Times reported, rather than the normal democratic ritual of voters and candidates, what Iraqis know is "a campaign in the shadows, where candidates are often too terrified to say their names. Instead of holding rallies, they meet voters in secret, if they meet them at all. Instead of canvassing for votes, they fend off death threats." Filkins further reported: "Of the 7,471 people who have filed to run, only a handful outside the relatively safe Kurdish areas have publicly identified themselves. The locations for the 5,776 polling places have not been announced, lest they become targets for attacks."

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