Monday, January 31, 2005

Sham Elections Squared

[Four more links, marked *, and quote at the end added 02/02]

In the previous posts, I now see I was even charitable... I thought the Iraqi sham elections, while below the level of the overturned Ukrainian sham elections last year and the overturned sham elections in Milosevic's Serbia in 2000, are somewhere on the level of the Iranian sham elections last year. (Salim Lone's post-election commentary* reminds of Western double standard in a similar vein.)

However, first read this: clueless election workers, no oversight, no secret ballotting as people have to vote for numbers - and ask elections workers what numbers stand for, total confusion and chaos... Then read on about the media coverage - tex @ UnFairWitness quotes Chris Albrittion about TV stations showing voters in Kurdistan, but not telling viewers; while Shlonkom Bakazay exposes BBC's (Allawi-supplied?) translators making up words never told.

Then read Raed, who forcefully brings up a theme I noticed hints of in earlier stories - apparently, mirroring the campaign of the resistance and terrorists, there was a concerted effort to force higher turnout. I recall stories of US Marines queriing returning Fallujah residents about whether and for whom they plan to vote, another story about US soldiers making house-to-house visits 'asking' (male) residents whether they plan to vote*, and Raed says the Allawi puppet government threatened people with reduced food rations should they not vote. Riverbend @ Baghdad Burning mentions and details the same, and US independent journalist Dahr Jamail reports it too*.

Raed also writes about the spin put on turnout numbers - apparently, even the around 50% figure is the percentage of registered voters (and that only in Iraq, exiles excluded), not of eligible or total voting-age Iraqis. Which reminds many of turnout propaganda in past sham elections like South Vietnam's*, see roundup at Lenin's Tomb. Here is a quote from an 1967 New York Times article:

United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.
According to reports from Saigon, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong.


At 4:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not a sham, they'll be able to use the results as airstrike intelligence. Don't you just love the freedom to choose your time and cause of death?


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