Its still too early to really say what's going on but this day deserves mention. The elections in Iraq are taking place. And while there is violence it appears to be not much worse than the violence in elections in many transitioning regimes. The range of predictions for turn out is rather broad but it looks like it will be over 50%. I have a hard time seeing how this is anything but a set back for the insurgents. We'll have to wait for the results to see if its a win for the Bush administration (of course the Bushies are already spinning it as a major political victory for them). I think we can say right now its a good thing for the Iraqis.
Reasons for optimism:
High turnout in an election that the insurgents demanded be boycotted is something of a referendum on the insurgents.
Sistani called on everyone to vote.
Violence was not at disastrous levels.
Reasons for caution:
Lots of countries currently ruled by dictators have had reasonably fair elections in the past.
We have no idea yet what policies the elected representatives will push for.
Just because some of these parties support this election doesn't mean they support elections for ever.
There are hundreds of parties. I imagine more than a dozen will get noticeable representation in the assembly. When partisan divisions are so complicated it is very difficult to get anything done (that's not really a problem in established democracies but can be disastrous when you need a new constitution fast).
Comments? Discussion? Wild eyed predictions?
Sunday, January 30, 2005
Posted by Raised By Republicans at 9:37 AM