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Count continues in Iraq as Bush praises vote

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Count continues in Iraq as Bush praises vote

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It is another day of counting in Iraq after millions voted on the country’s new constitution on Saturday.

Early results indicate a majority are backing the document, with the vote split, as expected, along community lines – with Kurds and Shi’ite support overcoming Sunni opposition. If confirmed, it will reflect the bitter ethnic and religious tensions that have cost so many Iraqi lives since the US-led invasion in 2003. The relatively trouble-free referendum and the likelihood of a yes-vote have been welcomed in Washington. President George Bush hopes the adoption of a constitution will allow him to start bringing American troops home. He is facing increasing public opposition over Iraq. He told journalists: “We believe and the Iraqis believe the best way forward is the democratic process. Al Qaeda wants to use their violent ways to stop the march of democracy because democracy is the exact opposite of what they believe in.” Almost 2,000 US troops have been killed in Iraq so far – five soldiers and a Marine died in violence surrounding the referendum.