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Iraq Moves Toward Democracy

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

The provisional results of the recent Iraqi election have been announced. More than eight million Iraqis defied terrorists and went to the polls. The election results will be certified later this week.

President George W. Bush says that "The world saw long lines of Iraqi men and women voting in a free and fair election for the first time in their lives":

"Our military forces, diplomats, and civilian personnel will help the newly elected government of Iraq establish security and train Iraqi military police and other forces. Terrorist violence will not end with the election. Yet the terrorists will fail, because the Iraqi people reject their ideology of murder."

Many governments have commented on Iraq's first step on the road to democracy. Russian president Vladimir Putin says, "The conditions for the election in Iraq were, to put it mildly, very difficult. At the same time, it is a positive event." Vicente Fox, Mexico's president, said, the Iraqi election "is an important democratic step and we hope that the process won't be impeded by violence." Marty Natalegawana, Indonesia's foreign ministry spokesman, commented of the Iraqis, "Their active participation, despite the very difficult security situation, reflects a commendable determination to seize their destiny in restoring sovereignty and in establishing a democratic Iraq."

King Abdullah the Second of Jordan perhaps best summed up the importance of what has happened in Iraq. He said, "If we have good examples of [the] democratic process, whether it's in Iraq or with the Palestinians, it does help countries such as Jordan to be able to push the envelope." The election in Iraq, says the Jordanian monarch, "will set a good tone for the Middle East."