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Saturday, October 15, 2005

IRAQ THE VOTE

Well, it looks like the Iraqi people are taking to democracy like liberals to tofu. Over the last week they've learned lessons in compromise and political negotiation; big steps toward leaving behind the old way of might makes right. I realize these are baby steps, and there is a long way to go. After all, we've been working on this life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness idea for over two centuries and we still don't have it perfected. I congratulate the Iraqis and wish the all the best. I hope that America will continue to stand with them as they move forward.

Large Turnout for Iraq Constitution Vote

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Sunni Arabs voted in surprisingly high numbers on Iraq's new constitution Saturday, many of them hoping to defeat it in an intense competition with Shiites and Kurds over the shape of the nation's young democracy after decades of dictatorship. With little violence, turnout was more than 66 percent in the three most crucial provinces.

The constitution still seemed likely to pass, as expected. But the higher-than-forecast Sunni turnout made it possible the vote would be close - or even go the other way - and cast doubt on U.S. hopes that the charter would succeed in luring Sunnis away from the insurgency.Washington hopes the constitution will be approved so Iraqis can form a permanent, representative government and the 150,000 U.S. troops can begin to withdraw.

"The constitution is a sign of civilization," Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said after casting his ballot. "This constitution has come after heavy sacrifices. It is a new birth."

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