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Bush On Iraqi Democracy

Iraq's election commission has certified the passage of the new Iraqi constitution after nearly ten million Iraqis voted on it in a referendum. President George W. Bush says that this is a moment of great significance for Iraq, the region, and the world:

"Three years ago, when Saddam Hussein ruled with an iron grip, the prospect of Iraqis voting on a democratic constitution would have been unthinkable. Now, the Iraqi people have shown that individual rights and rule by the people are universal principles, and that these principles can become the basis for free and decent governments throughout the Middle East."

Iraqis from various ethnic and religious backgrounds voted to approve the new constitution. Iraq's largest Sunni political party endorsed the constitution and urged its followers to approve the draft. Many more Sunnis participated in this vote than in January's governmental elections, and the level of violence was also dramatically lower. I

raqis are now preparing for elections in December to choose a new government. The democratic process, says Mr. Bush, is isolating the extremists who seek to derail democracy through violence:

"They hope to establish a totalitarian state in Iraq that denies all political and religious freedom, and they hope to use that country as a base for attacks on all people - Muslim and non-Muslim alike - who disagree with their twisted perversion of the Muslim faith. . . .Instead of surrendering to intimidation, the Iraqi people once again risked their lives for their liberty. Instead of turning against one another, the Iraqi people turned out to express their will at the polls. And instead of allowing their nation to become a haven for terrorists, the Iraqis are choosing democracy and freedom for their country."

The Iraqi government that will be chosen in December, said President Bush, "will be our ally in the war on terror, a partner in the struggle for peace and moderation in the Muslim world, and an inspiration for people across the Middle East to claim their liberty as well."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.