The Voting Begins

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Dec 14, 2005 10:32 PM

Iraqis head to the polls, blast heard in Baghdad at start of vote.

Voting is a family affair.

WaPo: Polls open in Iraq as danger remains.

NYT: An Islamist-secular split is seen.

UPDATE in the a.m.: You gotta love this lede, in the Washington Post coverage of the Iraqi vote:

BAGHDAD, Dec. 15 -- Iraqi voters turned out in force countrywide Thursday to elect a parliament to remake their troubled nation, with Sunni-led Iraqi insurgent movements suspending attacks for a day so that Sunni Arabs could vote en masse for the first time.

Well, well, well. So now days of Iraqi elections have officially become non-explosive days on the insurgent blow-up calendar? But there's been no progress. Heavens no.

Early turnout numbers looked very good, according to U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalizad:

"The number of people participating is very, very high and we have had very few irregularities," Khalilzad told The Associated Press. "It is a good day so far, good for us, good for Iraq. This is a first step for integrating the Sunni Arabs and bringing them into the political process and integrating them into the government."

And what about the Sunnis?

BAGHDAD -- Iraqis voted in a historic parliamentary election Thursday, with strong turnout reported in Sunni Arab areas that had shunned balloting last January, bolstering U.S. hopes of calming the insurgency enough to begin withdrawing its troops.

The Boston Globe looks at the expat vote.

Gateway Pundit has a picture of Joe Biden in Iraq doing the Purple Finger salute. Janeane Garofalo will not be happy with you, Joe. Better watch out. I think showing a purple finger is the kind of thing a Democrat might be able to get away with overseas, but once word gets back home, look out for a Dixie-Chick-style backlash.

Sens. Maria Cantwell, Saxby Chambliss, and Lindsey Graham were also there.