Inside Iraq's Elections


Thousands of candidates (and scores of parties) are now actively campaigning for office. Eighty-five percent of the voter registration centers are up and running, despite serious problems in Anbar province and in Mosul. An NYT story sees a "jungle of ambiguity," but the UN reports "considerable interest among Iraqis in the registration process in particular, and elections in general."

Iraq's communist party is back (emerged, as one observer has put it, "from [its] pre-Baathist formaldehyde") with its pre-Baathist slogan, "A free country and a happy people"; 91 of the party's 275 candidates are women.

A UAE newspaper editorializes that "There is a positive turn-around in the situation" in Iraq, and that "Those who thought violence was the way to settle scores with the Americans, or to disrupt life in Iraq and fish out of troubled waters, have not succeeded…" On the other hand, election workers are being ambushed and killed, and even political banner painters are working in fear.

Some think the U.S. won't like the election outcome, because the winners may be forced to negotiate with the "insurgents." Others believe that if Prime Minister Ayad Allawi wins a seat, he's likely to end up as leader again simply because the vying power centers won't be able to compromise on anyone else.

This and much more, including links, photos, stories, editorials, and analyses from all over, are gathered on the Iraq Elections Blog. Check it out.

NEXT: Sex in the Madrassas?

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  1. Thanks for the mention. Glenn Reynolds picked it up from here.

  2. I wonder just how Americanized this election will be.

    Will the ads feature the line “I’m Iyad Allawi and I approve this message!”?

    Will there be a group “Tank Vets For Truth” claiming that some guy didn’t really earn his medals during the war against Iran in the 1980’s?

    Will the strategists focus on “Camel Dads” in Basra and “Soccer Moms” (remember that in Iraq, as in much of the world, soccer is among the most popular sports) in Baghdad suburbs?

    Will the primaries be held in some obscure province, with the nominees already chosen before most of Iraq votes?

    And, most importantly, will the whole thing come down to how much money is promised to elderly swing voters in Mosul?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  3. I still want to be the candidate for guys with Kurdistan flags in their pickup trucks. I want to reach out to religious voters, and gun owners, and grenade launcher owners, and talk to them about education and health care in Iraq. They need good public schools, not religious schools where the imams molest little kids.

  4. Are Iraqis entirely clear what they are voting for?

  5. As long as we don’t see something like Germany 1933, I won’t be too disappointed.

  6. ..91 of the party’s 275 candidates are women.

    By “law” every 3rd candidate must be a woman, so they have complied…to the letter. It would be an interesting factoid had they had even one more woman than they were absolutely required to have.

    I wonder how Sistani’s list measures up? Suppose he dug up 90+ Shia women?

  7. “I wonder how Sistani’s list measures up? Suppose he dug up 90+ Shia women?”

    Over in neighboring Kuwait, the Islamist parties have been among the leading proponents for granting women the right to vote. Evidently, they believe that women would be more likely than men to give them their support. That argument might not make sense to us, but I think world history shows that political masochism has been found in ample supply over the years.

  8. BAGHDAD, Iraq – Car bombs rocked Iraq?s two holiest Shiite cities Sunday, killing at least 62 people and wounding more than 120, while in downtown Baghdad dozens of gunmen carried out a brazen ambush on a car, pulling out three election officials and executing them on the pavement in the middle of morning traffic.

  9. Eric II,

    We aren’t talking about voting, we’re talking about candidates standing for elections. As far as I’ve been able to tell, no one has actually seen the names on Sistani’s list.

  10. Gary Gunnels,
    If the Sunnis are killing the Shias at this rate BEFORE the election, imagine the rate AFTER the election… or will it be Shia’s killing the Sunnis AFTER the election? Either way, the trend does not look favorable for peace.

    I guess that’s why Dubya plans to take time out in 2005 to bring peace between Israel and the Palestinians. He’ll need a cake walk after the Iraqi elections, eh?

    Meanwhile the Kurds are keeping their powder dry.

  11. Ruthless,

    Now that’s what I call depressing the vote! šŸ™‚

  12. For all the doubters, I have two words:

    El Salvador.

    Look it up.

  13. “Not only are we going to Najaf,” Al-Dean said. “We’re going to Masiriyah and Kufa and Mosul and Kirkuk and Basra, and we’re going to Tikrit and Fallujah and Kerbala! And we’re going to Ramadi and Samarra and Tallafar and Amariyah! And then we’re going to Baghdad, Iraq, to take back the Green Zone!! HYEEEEAEEAAAAAH!!!”

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