February 01, 2005

Euphoria

John Burns:

The chief United Nations election adviser here in Iraq, Carlos Valenzuela, said the vote count at the polling places had been completed by Monday afternoon at all but a handful of centers, including some in Nineveh Province, centered on the northern city of Mosul, one of the places where Sunni voters in surprising numbers defied insurgent threats to kill voters.

Mr. Valenzuela, a 46-year-old Colombian, spoke of the "euphoria" that those involved in organizing the elections felt as reports started coming in on Sunday of the high voter turnout. There had been emergency plans to cancel the election if rebel attacks on polling stations got out of hand, he said.

"We were all very worried about security," he said. "Would people really be so scared that they wouldn't come out and vote?"

"Euphoria." Not from unilateralist Chimperor. From the chief United Nations election advisor in Iraq.

And the Sunni angle:

But as more details emerged of the pattern of voting, it remained uncertain how widespread Sunni voting in those areas had been. Both Mr. Valenzuela and Mr. Ayar, the election commission chief, spoke of higher-than-expected turnouts in Babil, Anbar, Diyala and Nineveh, and described lines at polling stations in cities that have seen major insurgent violence, including Falluja, Baquba and Mosul.

But other reports said that polling centers in Samarra, another trouble center north of Baghdad, as well as in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown, had been largely deserted, and that the turnout in Baquba, with a mixed Sunni and Shiite population, had been about 30 percent. Still, Mr. Ayar said, "there were no cities with no votes."

But he cautioned against the notion that the Sunni turnout in the troubled areas had been that high. "Everyone says it was better than what we expected," he said. "However, the expectations were very low. So it really doesn't mean very much, does it?"

If the Sunni vote nears (or, dare we hope, tops) 30% it will mean quite a lot, actually. And who would have even begun to fathom the possibility that lines would be forming to vote in Fallujah, for instance? Really, who?

Posted by Gregory at February 1, 2005 05:27 AM | TrackBack (5)
Comments

My guess is that in mixed areas the Arab Sunni turnout was decent, and not so good in heavily Sunni areas like Ramadi, Samarra, etc. Likewise depends on the neighborhood in Baghdad

Posted by: praktike at February 1, 2005 05:52 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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