Friday, December 16, 2005

Iraqi election turnout News Staff
Final results in Iraq's parliamentary election may not be known for two weeks, but early indications show that more than 70 per cent of voters may have taken part.

Election commission spokesman Farid Ayar said first estimates show that between 10 and 11 million of the nation's 15 million registered voters cast their ballot. Turnout in what was a mostly peaceful election was so overwhelming that ballots ran out in some places.

"The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq is to be commended on the way it has performed its role under the difficult circumstances prevailing in Iraq," Paul Dacey, spokesman for the International Mission for Iraqi Elections, said Friday.

Iraqis were voting for the country's first full-term government since Saddam Hussein was ousted in 2003. The vote will elect 275 members of a national parliament, who will in turn appoint a president. U.S. President George Bush described the vote, which took place amid a massive security operation, as "historic."

Election officials reported high turnouts even in Sunni insurgent strongholds such as Falluja and Ramadi. Sunni Arabs boycotted previous elections.


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