Voting has begun in Iraq’s parliamentary elections for members of the security forces, civil servants, and the prison population.
Ordinary Iraqis go to the polls at the weekend, when soldiers and the police will be needed to ensure the vote passes off without violence.
The campaign has been mostly peaceful, with only one candidate killed , and the al-Qaeda threat to make mayhem has not materialised yet. Iraq’s science minister says 2005 was all about affirming your identity at the polls; this time it is about getting a useful government that improves people’s daily lives. This officer voted early;
“Today’s a great day to elect a government and persons who will serve the people, because the state is not representative.”
200,000 security personnel will patrol Baghdad alone for the vote; checkpoints and the controversial explosives detectors are everywhere.
Everyone says this election will determine the nation’s future, as it will put in place the leaders who will run the country after the Americans leave.
They will mainly come from Iraq’s three largest communities, the Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds, and proportional representation means they must be able to work together.
The fierce differences that divide them have not led to the same bloodstained campaign as in 2005, and it seems there’ll be no repeat of the Sunnni boycott on Sunday.