Good News From Iraq

Headquarters (Multi National Division) South East
British Forces Post Office 641




Today, the people from the township of Az Zubayr, Southern Iraq were able to go to the polls and vote for candidates of their choice.

Despite the heat and humidity that surrounds Southern Iraq, the folk of Az Zubayr were able to do something today that they have never done before. Thousands of people turned at polling stations all around the town to cast their votes for two candidates of their choice.

In all, there were some 130 candidates standing for 25 seats on the local council in Iraq's first free elections.

The leader of the Al Nabhan people in the Az Zubayr area was present at the polling station within Gaza Secondary School and said, "The elections are a big joy and a big celebration for the Iraqi people, it is also the start of the democracy we want in Iraq."

With few exceptions on the Friday holiday, all were very happy and pleased to be able to have a say in the future government of their township.

Voters were processed through a queuing system where they were checked for their eligibility to vote. Once they had satisfied the polling station officials that they were allowed to vote, they made their choice of two candidates. Indelible ink was then marked onto each voter's hand and finally, they placed their ballot slips into the ballot box.

The elections were scheduled for earlier in the year and the actual date for polling has been hampered by security worries. The township was scarred by two suicide bombers who struck in April. The Iraqi National Guard (ING) and the Iraqi Police Service (IPS) formed a Joint Operations room in the Police Academy at Az Zubayr from where they oversaw a big and successful security operation by both services in order to allow the elections to go ahead unhindered.

Sheik of the Al Nabhan Tribe
ING Captain
IPS Captain