January 01, 2005

Iraqi Interest in Elections on the Rise

- Washington Post

BAGHDAD, Jan. 1 -- The number of Iraqis making sure they are properly registered to vote has surged dramatically, officials said Saturday, calling the rise evidence of enthusiasm for the Jan. 30 elections despite continuing security concerns that have blocked the process in two provinces.

After a slow start to the six-week registration process that began Nov. 1, the number of voters making corrections to official voter lists more than doubled in the final week, according to a final tally quoted by election officials Saturday.

Officials said that more than 2.1 million people went to local election offices to assure that eligible members of their households could vote. About 1.2 million forms were submitted to add names to the voter lists, an involved process that requires providing proof of identification and residence.

Despite the constant threats by the terrorists inside of Iraq against Iraqis voting, Iraqis are eagerly awaiting January 30, the day of the scheduled elections. Iraqis do not have to register to vote, therefore there will of course be more than 2.1 million people voting on election day.

Signs of Democracy inside of Iraq are slow showing, however they are there. While terrorists and countries surrounding Iraq are actively fighting against the idea of Democracy in the Middle East, they are being aided by many of the media organizations based in the Middle East as well. Al Hura is perhaps the only exception, though they are funded by the U.S. government.

Al Jazeera has yet to run a piece on any of the candidates in Iraq and has only mentioned Democracy in passing. Iraqi newspapers have reported on the elections, however with over 200 daily newspapers in Iraq there are a few papers who are anti-Democracy. Of course a free press is crucial in a Democracy therefore any view is welcomed in a Democratic society.

News of increased interest in the elections as well as increased awareness is crucial in trying to quell the views expressed by both the world-wide media and several world leaders' opinions regarding what percentage of people voting would constitute a legitimate Democracy. While these views may not be accurate considering some of the comments have come from leaders in tyrannies and dictatorial regimes, there are others who need to recognize the election as legitimate in order for Democracy to succeed in Iraq.

Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

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