American-Style Democracy Comes To Ohiraq

October 18th, 2005at 09:26am Posted by Eli

I guess this is just what happens when you put Republicans in charge of democracy…

Iraqi election officials said Monday that they were investigating “unusually high” vote totals in 12 Shiite and Kurdish provinces, where as many as 99 percent of the voters were reported to have cast ballots in favor of Iraq’s new constitution. The investigation raised the possibility that the results of the referendum could be called into question.

In a statement on Monday evening, the Independent Election Commission of Iraq said the results of the referendum on Saturday would have to be delayed “a few days” because the apparently high number of “yes” votes required election workers to “recheck, compare and audit” the results.

The statement made no mention of the possibility of fraud, but said results were being re-examined to comply with internationally accepted standards. Election officials say that under those standards, voting procedures should be re-examined anytime a candidate or a ballot question got more than 90 percent of the vote.

Members of the commission declined to give any details. But one official with knowledge of the balloting said the 12 provinces where the “yes” votes exceeded 90 percent all had populations that were majority Shiite or Kurdish. Leaders from those communities strongly endorsed the proposed constitution.

(snip)

“When you find consistently very, very high numbers, then that is cause for further checking,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Anything over 90 percent either way usually leads to further investigation.”

(snip)

Some Sunni leaders said the lopsided votes suggested fraud. Mishaan al-Jubouri, a National Assembly member and Sunni leader, said he favored a thorough investigation.

The Shiite and Kurdish political parties in power “were filling out forms and stuffing them into boxes,” he said in an interview. “They were also voting in the names of those who hadn’t come to vote.”

Mr. Jubouri said that monitors in several southern provinces, for example, reported modest voter turnout in their polling centers, but that after the polls closed, officials released overall turnout figures there that appeared to be extraordinarily high. They included results from the predominantly Shiite provinces of Najaf, Karbala and Wasit, he said.

Some centers did not even have 20 or 30 percent voter turnout, he said.

“This gives an impression that the process wasn’t transparent,” he added.

Iraqi Secretary of State Khalid al-Blaqwell could not be reached for comment.

If they’re committing election fraud to secure 33% of the vote, that’s pretty damn pathetic, although maybe they’re just trying to make it look more like a mandate…

I also suspect that I am not the only who thinks 33% is an awfully low bar for ratifying the entire foundation of a government. How can you have a “democratic” government based on a constitution that 65% of the electorate voted against? My gut feeling is that the 33% threshold was based on calculations of attainability rather than legitimacy.

Entry Filed under: Bush,Elections,Iraq,Wankers


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