Iraqis vote in constitutional referendum
Updated: 2005-10-15 14:32
Iraqis voted Saturday to give a "yes" or "no" to a constitution that would
define democracy in Iraq, a country now sharply divided among its Shiite, Sunni
and Kurdish communities.
An elderly Iraqi
woman shows an ink colored finger, confirming she has cast her vote, in
Iraq's constitution referendum, after exiting a voting station in Baghdad,
Iraq, Saturday Oct. 15 2005. [AP]
The polls opened at 7 a.m., just hours after insurgents sabotaged power lines
in the northern part of the country, plunging the Iraqi capital into darkness
and cutting off water supplies.
The capital was quiet under clear blue skies Saturday morning. Iraqi
soldiers and police ringed polling stations at schools, and driving was banned
to stop suicide car bombings by Sunni-led insurgents determined to wreck the
vote. Only a few citizens were seen walking to the schools, which were protected
by concrete barriers and barbed wire.
President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jafaari were shown
live on Al-Iraqiya television voting in a hall in Baghdad's heavily fortified
Green Zone, where parliament and the U.S. Embassy are based. After putting their
paper ballots in white-and-black plastic boxes, both smiled and waved to the
"The constitution will pave the way for a national unity," said al-Jafaari.
"It is a historical day, and I am optimistic that the Iraqis will say 'yes.'"
In Karrada, a heavily Shiite area of eastern Baghdad, Zeinab Sahib was one of
the first to cast a ballot at a school guarded by machine gun-toting Iraqi
"Today, I came to vote because I am tired of terrorists, and I want the
country to be safe again," said the 30-year-old mother of three, who was wearing
a head-to-toe black chador dress. "This constitution means unity and hope."