Sunday, January 30, 2005

Iraqis Brave Attacks; Voter Turnout High

Iraqis Brave Attacks; Voter Turnout High My Way News

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraqis defied violence and calls for a boycott to cast ballots in Iraq's first free election in a half-century Sunday. Insurgents seeking to wreck the vote struck polling stations with a string of suicide bombings and mortar volleys, killing at least 44 people, including nine attackers.

Women in black abayas whispered prayers at the sound of a nearby explosion as they waited to vote at one Baghdad polling station. But the mood for many was upbeat: Civilians and policemen danced with joy at one of the five polling stations where photographers were allowed, and some streets were packed with voters walking shoulder-to-shoulder to vote. The elderly made their way, hobbling on canes or riding wheelchairs; one elderly woman was pushed along on a wooden cart, another man carried a disabled 80-year-old on his back.

"This is democracy," said Karfia Abbasi, holding up a thumb stained with purple ink to prove she had voted.

Officials said turnout among the 14 million eligible voters appeared higher than the 57 percent that had been predicted, although it would be some time before any turnout figure was confirmed. No preliminary results were expected before Monday at the earliest, and final results will not be known for seven to 10 days, the election commission said.

Watch for the left to spin this election as not being representative of Iraqi public opinion, even though more people voted percentage wise than in the last U.S. election!

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