It's a sign of my obsession that I'm here writing this (hopefully short) blog entry instead of studying for my 2:30 final in Latin American Political Economy, although to be fair I've spent a number of hours thus far on the material.
The polls are closed in Iraq and no major incidents have been reported. It's an emotional day for everyone, as I've said I admire all the Iraqis who went out to vote today and the fact that they truly believe in the governance of their country by themselves. It is definitely a strong counterpoint to the cynicism we face here in the United States and all other democracies face from time to time, and though there are surely deficiencies in the system (especially in the American system from my POV) it is still democracy and we are still infinitely better off than most of the world.
I browsed Iraq the Model and the BBC today and found Omar and Mohammed generally optimistic (as always) and the BBC a bit more balanced although the BBC was also optimistic and reported the huge numbers of Iraqis turning out to vote and their enthusiasm for the process. They even quoted election officials as saying Anbar was relatively calm. One of the problems the BBC brought up was a female candidate from Basra who campaigned against the influence of the Islamist militia down there and pointed out how difficult the situation has become in the south for those who oppose the theocracy, and quite honestly that might be one of the biggest problems for a new government--how to avoid the partition of Iraq into different self governing states within a state as a "compromise" rather than creating a united and secular and liberal Iraq that many Iraqis (and we of course here in the U.S.) want to see.
Hopefully we will see a quicker ballot count this time around as last time it seemed to take forever to get some results. Admittedly, the most important thing is getting the count right, but in that regard a quicker count generally diminishes the possibility of fraud. The new Council of Representatives is due to be sworn in by year's end and the government formed rather quickly after that. Only after the results are out can there be any educated speculation about the composition and programme of a new government.
This was one of my favorite pictures, it is an Iraqi voter born in 1900 going to the polls today... the picture is from Iraq the Model and they have a lot of really great pictures of election day at the site, I encourage anyone reading this to check out their accounts from across the country. I am just going to link to it so nobody gets mad at me for breaking someone's rights...
And now back to the books for the last couple hours!