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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Another Iraqi Election, Another Day Without Terrorism

Polls Close in Iraq Elections, No Major Violence Saturday, January 31, 2009

BAGHDAD —  Iraq's provincial elections have wrapped up without any reports of serious violence.

Polls closed at 6 p.m. (10 a.m. EST) on Saturday — an hour later than planned — after millions of voters cast ballots for influential regional councils around most of Iraq. There were no reports of major violence.

Iraqi authorities imposed a huge security operation around the country that included traffic bans in major cities and extensive checkpoints and surveillance posts. The U.S. military also was out in force but did not take a direct role in the election security.

Results from the elections are not expected before Tuesday.

Iraqis passed through security checkpoints and razor-wire cordons to vote Saturday in provincial elections that are considered a crucial test of the nation's stability as U.S. officials weigh the pace of troop withdrawals.

Polls opened shortly after dawn after a step-by-step security clampdown across the country, including traffic bans in central Baghdad and other major cities and closure of border crossings and airports.

Though there was no major violence during voting, there were some disruptions at the polls.

A Kurdish official said hundreds of Iraqi Kurds stormed an election office in a disputed city after claiming many Kurds were not on voting lists for provincial elections. There were no reports of serious injuries.

The protest in Khanaqin on Saturday is part of lingering disputes over control of the city about 80 miles northeast of Baghdad. In August, Kurdish and Iraqi forces were locked in a tense standoff before the Kurds backed off.

Salahuddin Kekhaa, a Kurdish official in Khanaqin, says Kurds held a rally to claim that thousands of Kurds were left off voting list. Then they tried to break into the local election office but were turned back, he said.

Ghufran al-Saidi, a Shiite lawmaker in the Sadr City district, said a military officer opened fire in Baghdad after voters chanted slogans at a polling station. He said two people were injured, one of them seriously.


My Thoughts

Thank God there was no violence today. There has been a lot of progress been made over the last couple years after the surge. Let's hope that Obama doesn't change the direction of the change made in Iraq. Love him or hate him, Bush did a lot of good in Iraq.

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