The weblog of Joshua Drescher

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January 30th, 2005 · No Comments · Misc., Politics

Impressions from BBC reporters:


People have been literally streaming towards polling stations. I have never witnessed this huge turnout for long time.


The turnout was very good, with a lot of joy and enthusiasm among voters despite the difficulties in moving from their homes to the polling stations.

People told me they were participating to make their voices heard, even if the situation was difficult.

They said they were not afraid of the insurgents. Some of them were carrying white banners in the shape of a hand palm as a sign of a defiance against the insurgents.


It was a slow start but then came the large queues outside the polling stations.

A couple of hours before the close of polls one of the polling stations near here gave me figures suggesting that the turnout at that stage was something like 85 percent.


Across the south of the country, thousands of people have turned up to the polls, so many that a number of polling stations are staying open past the 1700 (1400 GMT) closing time.


We have seen voting here in the capital, and in the streets close to the BBC office the atmosphere was almost euphoric.

One elderly Shia man told us his two sons had been executed under Saddam and he was voting now to make sure there was no return to the old days.

Abu al-Khasbib:

The queues began to form soon after the polling stations’ doors had opened. Some people brought their children to make it a family affair. There was a wide range of ages and women were well represented.

One of them said she was voting as her duty as a Muslim. An elderly man said he was looking forward to a free and democratic government and a better future.

The lone holdout seems to be Falluja, which remains largely abandoned by Iraqi civilians:

We have seen a number of people - just a few - heading for ballot boxes and casting their votes. Only about 25% of the Falluja’s residents have now returned to the city, mostly the men, while children and women have remained outside.


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