Sunnis Turn Out

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Despite mixed messages from their leaders, it appears that the Sunnis in Iraq understand what democracy is all about since they showed up in droves to vote on the referendum.

A good day indeed.

This time, with a few exceptions, insurgent threats to kill voters did not materialize, allowing scores of people to vote on a proposed constitution that would increase the role of Islam in the government and formalize Iraq’s democracy. Turnout was described as exceptionally high in Sunni Arab regions that had largely boycotted January’s election. Voting in Shiite and Kurdish neighborhoods was brisk, but appeared lower than in January, when about 58 percent of registered voters cast ballots.

Sunni leaders sent conflicting messages to their followers about whether to vote in today’s referendum. That confusion and insurgent threats to target voters led to uncertainty about whether Sunnis would turnout en masse to cast ballots.

But according to U.S. Army officials in Salah Aldin, an overwhelmingly Sunni province north of Baghdad, by 11:30 a.m., more than 33,000 had already voted in the town of Baiji, 22,000 in Awaj, 17,000 in Tikrit and 20,000 in Samarra. Voting in Samarra was so heavy that polling places ran out of ballots in the early afternoon, officials said, and more were brought in under U.S. support.

However…

Sunni voters in the area interviewed by reporters were nearly unanimous in saying that they had voted against the constitution, which many Sunnis believe is deeply flawed.

Yep, looks like a democracy to me.

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