Iraq vote not off to a good start

They had a form of early voting in Iraq - mostly for the police and army who will be on duty this Sunday when the general vote takes place.

The day was not very encouraging. There was a smattering of violence, killing 12 Iraqis at polling places and worse, some complaints about process which might sap the legitimacy of the vote unless they can fix it by Sunday.

Charles Levinson reports in the Wall Street Journal:

Early balloting began for hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, including police and military who will be on duty Sunday, the main voting day in Iraq's second general election since the ouster of Saddam Hussein.

The result will help determine the dynamics of Iraq's democracy, its closeness to Iran and the U.S.'s ability to follow through on its plans to withdraw the bulk of its forces.


In the predominantly Sunni Anbar province, and in certain areas of Baghdad, complaints to the Iraqi High Election Commission included voters' names not showing up on voter rolls. In response, officials extended voting hours at some centers and allowed affected voters to cast provisional ballots.

Many of Iraq's predominantly Sunni parties have accused the election commission of bias. They accuse the government of arresting candidates, harassment and using government institutions for campaign purposes.

For better or worse, it's their country now. They're going to have to work it all out mostly by themselves. Like most democracies, it will be messy, unsatisfying, and will have a hard time working.

But it will be their democracy. And the Iraqis are going to have to figure out themselves.