But the Washington Post reports the atmosphere now is nothing like “the 2005 vote, when violence and its threat lurked menacingly over the process. Neither candidates’ names nor their pictures were published, for fear they might be assassinated.”
Plenty of candidates are willing to show their faces now. Salam Pax, the Baghdad Blogger, runs some of the numbers:
– Candidates up for election Iraq-wide: 14,428â€¦
– Number of seats these +14k are fighting to nab for themselves: 440 (thatâ€™s 32.7 candidates per seat!)
– Candidates for Baghdad Council: 2371
– Number of seats on Baghdadâ€™s Council: 57 (41.6 per wannabe â€˜council memberâ€™ per seat.. there will be tears.. a lot of tears)….
– Number of FOREIGN journalists registered with Iraqi Electoral Commission to cover elections: 358
– Number of IRAQI journalists registered with Iraqi Electoral Commission to cover elections: 1629 (who knew we had that many journalists!)
It’s not perfect. There are concerns about fraud and vote-buying, and only 14 of the country’s 18 provinces are taking part — the Kurdish provinces are not participating. And while the violence has greatly diminished, it is by no means over.
But Iraqis are determined to make their voices heard. It may be contagious — the country’s neighbors should be on notice.
(Photo: Salam Pax)