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Iraq vote registration extended

Discussion in 'News' started by Æ°, Jan 22, 2005.

  1. Æ°

    Æ° Senior Member

    Joined: May 12, 2002 Messages: 1,974 Likes Received: 6
    Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4191787.stm

    Low turnout for Iraq expat vote

    By Penny Spiller
    BBC News

    The number of Iraqis voting abroad was predicted to be high, but with just three days to go before registration ends, turnout is surprisingly low.
    The International Organisation for Migration's out-of-country vote programme has ensured it can cater for more than one million expatriate Iraqis.

    But as of Wednesday evening, only 67,760 people had registered to vote in centres set up in 14 countries.

    So who is voting, why are many not and will it have any impact back home?

    Iraqi doctor Sabuh al-Omari is in Britain this month for a conference and will vote in her country's elections on 30 January while she is in London.

    But she admits it would be a different story if she was in Baghdad right now.

    "If I had been in Baghdad I would not have gone to vote because it is too horrifying and scary," she told the BBC World Service's Outlook programme.

    She is not alone. Many Iraqis living abroad who have registered to vote in recent days said similar things.

    Syria: 500,000
    Jordan: 360,000
    US: 313,000
    UK: 250,000
    Iran: 134,137
    UAE: 100,000
    Sweden: 91,600
    Germany: 75,000
    Australia: 75,000
    Netherlands: 44,000
    Turkey: 40,000
    Canada: 36,000
    Denmark: 26,000
    France: 8,000
    Number of Iraqis living in 14 nations where voting is to be held
    (Source: IOM)

    "Perhaps it is better that we are voting from outside Iraq," Bassima Muhammad al-Naima, originally from Karbala but now in Syria, told the New York Times.
    "Here in Syria, we have the safety to campaign and to vote freely. I have a friend in Iraq who is working on a campaign, and she feels terrified while she hands out fliers."

    There have even been reports of Iraqis choosing to flee their country as the elections approach for fear of further violence.

    One Baghdad travel agency owner, who asked not to be identified, said she had taken a number of requests for flights from wealthy Iraqis who wanted to leave before the elections, according to the Washington Post.

    But all this does not appear to have had much impact on the number of Iraqis abroad registering to vote.

    Holiday impact

    The head of the Jordan-based programme of registering expatriate Iraqi voters, Peter Erben, told the BBC News website there could be several factors why so few had so far put their names on the lists.

    People have to attend polling stations twice, once to register and then to vote - inconvenient for those who have distances to travel.

    We have all the facilities available, it is up to the Iraqis to come out and vote now
    Peter Erben
    International Organisation for Migration

    Some fear their details may be shared with the Iraqi government - something Mr Erben stressed would not happen - and may be concerned about security.

    Mr Erben hopes numbers will pick up in the next few days with the start of the Eid holiday and more free time for people to vote.

    "We have all the facilities available, it is up to the Iraqis to come out and vote now," he said.

    'Skewed election'

    But how crucial might the expatriate vote be?

    With many initially predicting a strong turnout abroad, analysts believed it could have a real impact if violence in Iraq kept voters there at home.

    "Without the security fears it's easier to vote abroad... there's a risk of a skewed election if there's a low turnout in Iraq," Hemmer Fuertig, analyst at the German Institute for Middle East Studies, was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.

    Farid Ayar, spokesman for Iraq's Independent Electoral Commission, has said they expect around eight million to vote in Iraq on the day - out of 15 million eligible to vote, from a total population of 26 million.

    Fareed Sabri, London representative for the Iraqi Islamic Party - the largest Sunni party - believes turnout will be low in the Sunni areas that have been insurgent strongholds.

    "We don't think it will be much more than 10% of the population because of the security situation," he told the BBC News website.

    We are always hearing from people that they are ready to go to the polling stations and vote
    Farid Ayar

    He said the decision to keep details of the polling stations secret until the last minute, and a ban on cars without official permits would not help.

    "Iraqis do not know where the polling stations are. They will also refrain from using their cars because they could be shot at, but they are not going to walk five to 10 miles (8-16km) to vote," he said.

    The Iraqi Islamic Party is boycotting the election, even though its candidates are still on the ballot sheet, amid violence and discontent among the minority Sunnis.

    'Genuine excitement'

    Yahia Said, a research fellow at the London School of Economics' Centre for the Study of Global Governance, believes turnout among the Sunni population will be better than expected.

    He has spent a lot of time talking to ordinary Iraqis about the elections and believes there is genuine excitement about the chance to vote for the first time.

    "The turnout will not be high, but I think it will be better than people expect," he told the BBC news website.

    "Insurgents are betting on putting people off, but it is very hard to scare the Iraqi people. This is something that isn't appreciated. They have become inured to violence over the years - especially in the western parts of Iraq."

    Mr Ayar echoes that sentiment.

    "We are always hearing from people that they are ready to go to the polling stations and vote, and they are eager to reach that day," he said.

    "We feel we have to do everything in our power to make sure this happens - it is the first time in our lives that we have this chance to vote and have a say in our future."
  2. villain

    villain Veteran Member

    Joined: Jul 12, 2002 Messages: 5,190 Likes Received: 2
    I heard on NPR that the vote was going pretty good in Detroit, where 1/3 of eligible Iraqi voters in the US live.
  3. Æ°

    Æ° Senior Member

    Joined: May 12, 2002 Messages: 1,974 Likes Received: 6

    That's a link to a yahoo story that reports the turnout in Detroit was lower than expected. But it's from a few days ago, so maybe it was before folks started showing up. So if you just heard that today maybe things are picking up in Detroit.

    But only 67,760 people had registered to vote in centers set up in 14 countries. That's not much higher than if all the Iraqi citizens in Canada and Denmark had registered. And it looks like there's something like 2 million eligible voters.

    I'm curious what the popular reasons for not voting are. Has anyone seen a poll like that?
  4. villain

    villain Veteran Member

    Joined: Jul 12, 2002 Messages: 5,190 Likes Received: 2
    not today, yesterday i think.....
  5. Æ°

    Æ° Senior Member

    Joined: May 12, 2002 Messages: 1,974 Likes Received: 6

    Got this little chart of registered voters from bloomberg.com. I guess it's up to 94k now.

    Australia 5,158
    Canada 3,473
    France 267
    Germany 6,448
    Iran 20,805
    Jordan 5,019
    Netherlands 4,882
    Sweden 10,773
    Syria 6,236
    Turkey 2,144
    UAE 6,086
    UK 8,506
    USA 8,966
    World 93,847
  6. villain

    villain Veteran Member

    Joined: Jul 12, 2002 Messages: 5,190 Likes Received: 2
    I also heard that the biggest problem for Iraqis is that they are not even sure who their candidates are. There is really no national public forum. There are still parts of the country without electricity. The environment is hostile for campaigning. Most everyone knows who allawi is, but I'm pretty sure they won't be voting for him. Alot of eyes are on Sistani.... as he is a poweful shiia cleric. Supposedly the candidates he is endorsing are among the favorites. But both the Kurds and Sunni are not happy about democracy, much to the antipathy of Bush's rhetoric.... Surely the Shiia would win big simply due to numbers (Iran is watching this closely as well and has agents influencing the situation there.).... that's why the sunni insurgency is so strong now. The Kurds are the US military's best friends and are loving kicking the ass of Sunnis.... but this alliance could well falter soon....
    The CIA predicted a worst case scenario of civil war in Iraq....
    What a twisted irony it would be to see democratic elections there incite civil war in the country.

    Have I mentioned that Bush is stupid lately?
  7. Æ°

    Æ° Senior Member

    Joined: May 12, 2002 Messages: 1,974 Likes Received: 6
    With everything you've said and everything I've read so far, it almost sounds like Iraq isn't ready for an election yet!

    Seriously, EVERY time I listen to Bushy speak I'm assured that the job of the speech writer is to make sure that this illiterate boy scout can stand at the podium and successfully tell us the EXACT OPPOSITE of the way things are in reality. It honesty makes me laugh because see through this shit so easily and it pours out of him with every word. It never fails and it's so obvious. It's either the laughs of insanity or cursing the radio and scaring the shit out of my coworkers.

    At the workplace I've noticed people that once supported Bush are slooowly starting to separate their selves from him. It's amusing, almost like they're finally starting to realize that he has fucked up big-time and his image won't be held as a very positive one in the future. I always ask them how they feel about telling their future children and grandchildren that they voted for him.

  8. villain

    villain Veteran Member

    Joined: Jul 12, 2002 Messages: 5,190 Likes Received: 2
    Iraq definately is not ready for elections. But Bush will insist on it because he is trying to maintain the illusion of progress in Iraq.
    Be nice to you coworkers. At least they are realizing what's really going on. Bush has duped alot of people somehow. Alot of people don't know. They also have more faith in the governments ability to correct itself. This is also an unprecedented level of corruption and complicity.
    I have trouble believing it myself sometimes because it is so outrageous.
  9. dojafx

    dojafx Member

    Joined: Nov 20, 2001 Messages: 831 Likes Received: 0
    dont blame me, i voted for kodos