Friday, Mar. 19, 2010

January 2005
Democracy Arrives

"We are defeating the terrorists as we are coming here."

—an Iraqi voter, as quoted on CNN

On January 30, Iraq holds its first democratic elections in fifty years. Though plagued by sporadic violence and a Sunni party boycott, the legislative elections attract high turnout from eligible Iraqis. The biggest winner is the United Iraqi Alliance, a broad coalition of Shi'ite politicians, which wins a plurality of seats in the national assembly. The election also leads to the nomination of Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, to be Iraq's president. Critics argue that elections will do little to alleviate Iraq's sectarian tensions since most voters simply voted in accordance with their ethnic or religious identities, though the Bush Administration and many Iraqis view the day as a major milestone. "This is the greatest day in the history of this country," Iraqi national security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie tells CNN.