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12/9/04 - ELECTIONS IMPERATIVE FOR IRAQ - 2004-12-10


Iraqi interim President Ghazi al-Yawar says that the Iraqi people are eager for the elections scheduled for January 30th to take place, despite their concerns about security:

"I am talking about the mass public of Iraq; they are all very anxious to go and cast their votes and practice, for the first time in forty-five years, their right and duty of voting for whoever they feel confidence in."

Mr. al-Yawar says that postponing the elections in Iraq because of terrorist violence would be a mistake:

"The worst thing to do is to postpone elections. This will give a tactical victory to the insurgents, to the forces of darkness. . . .We are asking the United Nations, the whole international community, to help us. We do not think that postponing elections or delaying it will solve the problem. Actually, it will prolong the agony for Iraqis and you will have more resentment in the Iraqi society."

President George W. Bush agrees:

"I think that the capacity of these killers to stop an election would send a wrong signal to the world, and send a wrong signal to the Iraqi people themselves. And as the president [al-Yawar] has said, the people want to vote, and I believe they ought to have a chance to vote. And we'll do everything we can, working with the Iraqis, to make the election sites as secure as possible."

"These elections will be a very important moment in the advance of democracy," Mr. Bush said. "I also believe that success in Iraq will breed success elsewhere."

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