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Voting Underway in Iraq

Early voting in Iraq’s provincial elections started today. The main balloting will come on Saturday, but some Iraqis are eligible to vote as early as today. Turnout was reported as high, with few reports of violence.

Sunnis, especially in Anbar province, boycotted the 2005 provincial elections. That set the stage for the sectarian violence that followed, as the government was dominated by Shiites and Kurds. This year, voting in Anbar is expected to be heavy. Overall, Prime Minister Maliki says he hopes for a turnout of 70 to 80 percent of eligible voters. If that happens, it will far exceed the turnout in our election last November.

In the photo below, residents of Fallujah pass election posters on a wall:

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Who would have thought, a few years ago, that by 2009 the biggest conflict in Fallujah would be debates between competing political candidates? America’s armed forces and the leadership of the Bush administration can take a great deal of pride in these developments.

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