Think about this the next time you go to your neighborhood polls.
Polls closed across Iraq on Sunday as the war-weary population awaits results from the national election that will decide the future of the country’s still-fragile democracy.
The election tested the mettle of the country’s shaky security as insurgents killed 31 people across Iraq, unleashing a barrage of mortars intent on disrupting the historic day.
About 19 million Iraqis were eligible to vote on a government that will oversee the withdrawal of U.S. forces. The election is critical in determining whether Iraq can overcome the jagged sectarian divisions that have defined it since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
Once the day’s results are calculated, it could be months before Iraq’s new parliament chooses a prime minister and forms a government.
……Despite the violence and frustration that has set in after years of fighting and faulty government services, many Iraqis were still excited to vote.
In the city of Nasiriyah, in the Shiite south, crowds of people filled the streets — men in what appeared to be their best clothes were accompanied by women in long black cloaks and often children.
“I voted in 2005. There were a lot less people then,” said Ahmed Saad Chadian. “Today participation is much higher.”
In the Shiite holy city of Najaf, south of Baghdad, dozens of voters also lined up to cast their ballot.
“We came to participate in this national day, and we don’t care about the explosions,” said Sahib Jabr, a 34-year-old old taxi driver.
This is the third national election in Iraq since 2003. We turned over the reigns to the fledgling Iraqi government, and it’s doing a pretty good job. Iraqi forces handled the security, with only a little assistance from U.S. troops.
The terrorist cells, many of whom are coming in from Iran, are none too pleased with democracy getting a foothold in the region. The Iraqis have toughened up and are no longer intimidated by them.
Iraq has done a good job overcoming obstacles, and has come a long way. As long as it stays on track, the transition of U.S. forces will be smooth.
The Iraq the Model site has a breakdown of candidates and predictions.