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Iraqis Vote

The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States goverhment:

Millions of Iraqis went to the polls to elect two-hundred-seventy-five members of a transitional national assembly. Ghazi al-Yawer, Iraq's interim president, says the vote is his country's "first step to joining the free world and being a democracy." Final results are expected in a few days.

Terrorists tried to disrupt the election. Across Iraq, more than thirty people were murdered by suicide bombings. President George W. Bush stated, "By participating in free elections, the Iraqi people have firmly rejected the anti-democratic ideology of the terrorists":

"They have refused to be intimidated by thugs and assassins. And they have demonstrated the kind of courage that is always the foundation of self-government."

Many Iraqis volunteered as poll workers. More than one-hundred-thousand Iraqi security personnel guarded polling places. One Iraqi voter had lost a leg in a terrorist attack. He told a reporter: "I would have crawled here if I had to. I don't want terrorists to kill other Iraqis like they tried to kill me."

Now that the Iraqi people have held a successful election, says President Bush, it is time for the political process to take root:

"This historic election begins the process of drafting and ratifying a new constitution, which will be the basis of a fully democratic Iraqi government. Terrorists and insurgents will continue to wage their war against democracy, and we will support the Iraqi people in their fight against them."

"The Iraqi people have clearly turned out," says U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. "And they've clearly done this because they recognize that the vote is an opportunity for a different kind of future." As Faheka Abedl Wahed, an Iraqi school teacher put it: "Today, for the first day, I feel like an Iraqi."