The votes are still being counted in Iraq's parliamentary election. Iraqi election officials say that up to eleven million voters, or seventy percent of those registered, cast their ballots for two-hundred-seventy-five seats in the new parliament. Members will serve four-year terms.
According to news reports, turnout was high among Sunni Muslims. Sunnis make up some twenty percent of the Iraqi population. Many Sunnis had boycotted Iraq's January election for a transitional government. Ibrahim Mousa al-Musawi voted at a polling place in the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar. "We want a democracy," he told a reporter. "This," he said, "is our answer to the decades of slavery we had before."
U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says the election was "a historic day for the Iraqi people":
"There have been no closings of polling stations due to violence. There has been some violence surrounding the elections and there have been some that have lost their lives. We have reports of families bringing their children to the voting booths, letting their children put their fingers in the ink to show that...their family voted."
State Department spokesman McCormack says the Iraqi election is important "for all of those around the world who are struggling to spread freedom and democracy":
"The previously unthinkable has become commonplace, that you can have elections relatively free from violence, that you can have elections that by all appearances are meeting the standards of the international community that were out for them, that you have Iraqis running these elections themselves and that you have so many different candidates running for office is really extraordinary, if you look back where we were just two or three short years ago."
President George W. Bush says he "congratulate[s] the Iraqi citizens for being courageous and in defying terrorists and refusing to be cowed into not voting." Mr. Bush says, "We've got partners in peace with the Iraqi citizens":
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.