Wednesday, October 19, 2005

This is how you fix an election: 

I wonder what the U.S. government would say if this kind of stuff happened in Venezuela?:

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 17 - 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.


According to the statement, the election commission intended to re-examine many aspects of the balloting, including "examining random samples from ballot boxes," the statement said. Such a process could drag out for days, raising the possibility that the election for a full-term Parliament, planned for Dec. 15, would have to be delayed.

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.


To guard against the possibility of fraud and intimidation, the commission deployed 57,000 election observers, drawn from local aid groups, and 120 representatives of political parties.

Mahmood Othaman, a Kurdish member of the National Assembly, said the monitors were largely partisans themselves, leaving very few objective safeguards in place.

In the Kurdish areas, the makeup of the teams effectively put the two main Kurdish parties in charge. "I expected these things," Dr. Othaman said. "I said it all along. If there is no census, and no outside observers, you can expect this.

"The people who were observing were the same as the candidates. The U.N. sits in Amman and says it's all good, it's free and fair, because they don't want to come here."

99% of the vote!!! Jeepers, Saddam would be proud. I guess when the U.S. overthrew the government they left the same electoral authorities in place (actually, maybe this is why it took so long to put Saddam on trial - they first needed him to give techincal advice on how to carry out the elections).

Lets see; no independent or outside observers (except some very outside observers hanging out in Jordan), no transparency, no controls to detect cheating, and no audit by external groups – really nothing that you need to run clean elections. Clearly, what is happening in Iraq is nothing but a big farce. I have no idea whether or not there was any fraud in this process – but then again neither does anyone else. And that’s the whole point. If not for the fact that it was a favored puppet regime of the U.S. this wouldn’t be accepted by U.S. government for one second.

Yet another example of the do as we say, not as we do, mentality of the U.S.


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