Democracy in Iraq appears to work


Voting in Iraqi provincial elections ended peacefully Saturday evening, and the mood was festive in some places, unlike the violence, intimidation and apathy that marked the balloting in 2005.

"There is a new norm of politics. ... It is truly a proud moment," Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh told CNN. "The distance that we have come is truly inspiring."

Faraj al-Haidari, who chairs the Independent High Electoral Commission of Iraq, and Staffan de Mistura, special U.N. representative for Iraq, issued statements saying the election went smoothly.


Preliminary results from the electoral commission are expected within five days, de Mistura said. Final numbers are due at the end of February.

"Some security incidents were reported during the day, but we didn't have any confirmation on serious security incidents that might effect the total electoral process," al-Haidari said.

President Obama congratulated the Iraqis on the elections.


It is good that Obama recognized the importance of the election in Iraq because if his policy had been adopted two years ago, it would never have happened. The Iraqis have shown that democracy has a chance for success in the Arab world. That is something that many felt was impossible. If it were not for the determination of George Bush it is unlikely to have ever happened. Hopefully Iraq's example will inspire others.


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