Thursday, December 15, 2005

Scotsman: Election facts and figures.

L.A. Times: Iraqis walked through mostly silent streets this morning to begin voting in their country's most competitive election in decades, a U.S.-backed exercise that will produce the first full-term government here since the ouster of Saddam Hussein. The mood of early voters was solemn. Some went to polling centers with their families, others alone. Iraqi soldiers and special police commandos guarded the centers, mostly schools, and frisked everyone entering. U.S. soldiers in armored vehicles patrolled the streets. [...]

Zalmay Khalilzad, Washington Post: After the Elections. Today is a historic day for Iraq. Iraqis of all sects and ethnic groups will participate in elections. Most significantly, the Sunni Arab community will participate in large numbers. More than 1,000 Sunni clerics have called on their followers to vote. A number of Sunni Arab political groups that boycotted the January elections are fielding candidates. Sunni Arab leaders have called on insurgents to cease their attacks, and some insurgent groups have said they will comply. Today's elections will create a National Assembly that is far more representative than the current one. This in turn can help accelerate progress toward success in Iraq. Success will depend on improvements in establishing a broad-based and effective government; building stronger Iraqi security forces, and gaining the confidence of all Iraqi communities in their security institutions; winning over insurgents to the political process; increasing the capacity of the national and local government; instituting economic reforms and promoting private-sector development; and gaining more support from neighboring states for stabilizing Iraq. [...]