It was Iraq’s first free election in 50 years, and officials say more than 8 million people, turned out to vote. They did it in defiance of insurgent threats and many said they voted in part to take revenge against Saddam Hussein.
Results aren’t expected for days or even weeks, but already Iraqi and US officials are hailing the vote as a success. The day was not without violence — suicide bombs killed dozens and death threats and mortar attacks kept many Iraqi’s away from polling stations, among them, those in the Sunni community who boycotted the election — raising fears that the results may be rejected by them.
Some here in the United States say the vote shows that democracy can succeed in Iraq — others say it shows that its high time the U.S. started designing an exit strategy for its troops.
Larry Diamond, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford
Alissa Rubin, Baghdad Bureau Chief for the LA Times
Thanassis Cambanis, Boston Globe reporter based in Iraq
Zuhair Humadi, Secretary General of the Council of Ministers in Iraq
Donny George, Director General of The Iraq Museum
Ambassador Peter Galbraith, former U.S. Ambassador to Croatia and Senior Diplomatic Fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation