Sunday, February 13, 2005

Iraqi elections


After two weeks, and no explanation for what the problem was with those 300 ballot boxes or how the problem was resolved, the Iraqi election results have finally been released. Figures on how many people were killed on election day still haven’t been added up, for some reason.

I’ve been assuming that the Iraqi ballot boxes would be stuffed, at the very least to increase voter turnout to make the election look more legitimate. So in one sense, it’s a good sign that the official turnout figure for Anbar province (including the rubble fields of Fallujah) was an uninflated-sounding 2%. In another sense, of course, a national election is not legitimate when that many people are not represented.

It’s also nice to see a politician spend huge amounts of money from mysterious sources, monopolize the airwaves, and then be thoroughly trounced, as Iyad “Comical” Allawi has been. It will be interesting to see if the secret police thugs and torturers he has recruited transfer their loyalties to whoever replaces him.

Some years ago San Francisco, which like Iraq had at-large elections, had a polling station which for some years was in an upscale bakery, which gave away pastries to voters. Voter turnout in that precinct was nearly 100%, giving that precinct disproportionate, um, weight in the board of supervisors, so the bakery was quite rightly told to stop. That is how these things should work. In Iraq, that 2% turnout was matched by 92% turnout in a Kurdish region.

The Indy says that US officials are having “are you now or have you ever been” discussions with Iraqi politicians to see how close they are to Iran, and how the Iraqi government will react when the US attacks Iran.

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