A positive sign

Reuters reports on the Iraqi local elections:

Iraqis held their most peaceful election since the fall of Saddam Hussein, voting for provincial councils without a single major attack reported anywhere in the country.

Amazing, considering past elections.

There was something of a holiday atmosphere in many parts of the country. In normally traffic-choked Baghdad, children took advantage of a ban on cars to play soccer in the streets.

“How can we not vote? All of us here have always complained about being oppressed and not having a leader who represented us. Now is our chance,” said Basra voter Abdul Hussein Nuri.

Also great. Of course it is still not like local body elections in NZ:

In addition, five candidates were assassinated in the run-up to Saturday’s election – three just two days before the vote.

But more positively:

Around 14,400 candidates competed for 440 council seats after exuberant campaigning. Brightly coloured campaign posters cover the blast walls that divide Iraqi neighbourhoods.

Around 30 candidates per seat – spoilt for choice.

The death toll in Iraq has been horrendous, and for so long it looked like the withdrawal of coalition forces would lead to disaster and a failed state. It is encouraging that things are looking better – something everyone should be happy about.

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