Iraq's Sunni leaders reject poll as flawed and unjust
Thursday 03 February 2005
In its first statement since the vote, the Association of Muslim Clerics said the election had little credibility "because a large portion of those people who represent many spectra have boycotted it". The association had previously urged Sunnis not to vote, but analysis of the turnout suggests a late dash to the polls in Sunni areas.
In many Sunni towns, the vote appears to have been marked as much by confusion as intimidation. Community leaders say a surge of interest in the elections brought larger-than-expected numbers to the polls but many were prevented from casting a vote by a shortage of polling stations, lack of ballot papers and concerns over security.
Iraqi election officials have acknowledged ballot shortages in Baghdad, Mosul and Basra, contributing to the low Sunni turnout. No official figure for Sunni turnout has yet been given, but the total seems certain to be less than 50 per cent.
Mishan Jabouri, leader of the Sunni-dominated Homeland Party, said he had pleaded with US embassy officials and the election commission to prepare for a last-minute surge of interest in Sunni Arab strongholds. "I said, `please try to open an election centre in Ramadi. Please, there are not enough ballots in Hawija, not enough in Beiji, not enough in Mosul'."
In one complaint filed by an official of the Homeland Party in Hawija, a violent Sunni Arab stronghold south-west of Kirkuk, voters complained ballots ran out at 11.30am and extra ballots did not arrive until 3.30pm, 90 minutes before the close of voting. Party officials say 8,000 too few ballots were delivered.
"The election commission did not distribute ballots according to needs of each centre, especially in Arab areas," wrote Mustafa Ahmed al-Tamawi, a party official in Kirkuk.
Many Sunnis appear to have been torn between outright suspicion of the election process and a desire to influence the new National Assembly.
Maisem Khalil Yacoub and her husband, Sabah al-Tayee, tried to vote in the Adhamiya neighbourhood of Baghdad, where gunfire and explosions marked the day. But after walking fruitlessly from one closed election centre to another for three hours in the Sunni area they went home without voting.
"There has been an injustice," said Ms Yacoub, a 35-year-old cemetery worker.
More than two million Kurds in northern Iraq took part in the poll and Kurdish leaders claimed that self-rule is now inevitable if not imminent. An informal referendum conducted by volunteers in parallel with the election found 95 per cent of Kurds supported independence from Baghdad. Iraqi Kurds have long pushed for independence, but Turkey, Iran and Syria - all with substantial Kurdish minorities - oppose the establishment of Kurdish state on their borders. The organisers surveyed Kurds as they emerged from polling stations across northern Iraq. The results have not been independently verified.
- 1 Michael Douglas regrets 'embarrassing' Catherine Zeta-Jones with oral sex comments
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Tunisian builder has been hailed a hero after knocking gunman to the ground with roof tiles
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 E.L James's #AskELJames Twitter Q&A didn't go exactly as planned
Michael Douglas regrets 'embarrassing' Catherine Zeta-Jones with oral sex comments
Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
Dutch city of Utrecht to experiment with a universal, unconditional 'basic income'
Tunisian builder has been hailed a hero after knocking gunman to the ground with roof tiles
German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Extend Right To Buy to tenants of private landlords, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn says
David Cameron struck double blow in his hopes to win Britain a new EU deal
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
£500 - £600 per day: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Solution Architect is requir...
£18k - 20k per year: 360 Resourcing Solutions: ROLE: Export Sales Coordinato...
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The largest developer of mobile...
£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...