www.xinhuanet.com
XINHUA online
CHINA VIEW
VIEW CHINA
 Breaking News URGENT: Ministerial meeting ends, urging tsunami warning system     Meeting on tsunami warning arrangements opens in Thailand     Israeli army chief orders end to operations in Gaza     China penalizes gambling officials     SASAC hopes CAO bailing out plan supported     Car bomb in southern Baghdad kills four     
Home  
China  
World  
Business  
Technology  
Opinion  
Culture/Edu  
Sports  
Entertainment  
Life/Health  
Travel  
Weather  
  About China
  Map
  History
  Constitution
  CPC & Other Parties
  State Organs
  Local Leadership
  White Papers
  Statistics
  Major Projects
  English Websites
  BizChina
- Conferences & Exhibitions
- Investment
- Bidding
- Enterprises
- Policy update
- Technological & Economic Development Zones
Source Manufacturers and Suppliers from China and around the world
   News Photos Voice People BizChina Feature About us   
Tension prevails in Saddam's hometown province ahead of elections
www.chinaview.cn 2005-01-29 20:53:49

US soldiers patrol the streets in Baghdad 28 January 2005. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)
US soldiers patrol the streets in Baghdad 28 January 2005. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)


 (Xinhua/AFP Photo)

US soldiers from Charlie company 1-9 patrol the streets in the Sheikh Maaruf district of Baghdad 28 January 2005. Insurgents set off a car bomb and attacked voting stations and security forces in several Iraqi cities today, killing at least six people as campaigning for the election wrapped up and voters began casting their ballots abroad. (Xinhua/AFP Photo/Christophe Simon)
US soldiers from Charlie company 1-9 patrol the streets in the Sheikh Maaruf district of Baghdad 28 January 2005. Insurgents set off a car bomb and attacked voting stations and security forces in several Iraqi cities today, killing at least six people as campaigning for the election wrapped up and voters began casting their ballots abroad. (Xinhua/AFP Photo/Christophe Simon)

   by Ali Salih Jubouri, Jamal Hashim

   TIKRIT, Iraq, Jan. 29 (Xinhuanet) -- With only one day to go before the landmark elections, tension prevailed Saturday in Iraq's northern Salahaldin province, whose capital Tikrit is hometown to former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

   "Iraqi security forces have taken control of election centers in cities across the governorate and banned people from approaching the centers," said Abdullah Hussien Jibbara, deputy governor of Salahaldin province.

   National Guards fanned out on the main roads with an extended curfew imposed on most cities from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. (1600 to 0300 GMT).

   In spite of all these measures and precautions, there has been an increase in insurgent attacks against voting centers in the past days in the province, a Sunni stronghold.

   More than 15 schools designated as voting centers in the area were bombed, including three by car bombs in Tikrit and Samarra.

   The headquarters of the Independent Electoral Commission in Tikrit, a UN-sponsored body responsible for holding the elections, was also hit by three mortar rounds.

   Moreover, the commission is facing a crisis in providing enough employees for the voting centers after more than half of the staff in the province resigned due to the deteriorating security situation and low payment.

   The commission was then forced to decrease the number of voting centers from 200 to about 132, which would consequently discourage the voters.

   "The centers are either too far for them to reach or considered not very well secured," said a source in the commission, who preferred not to mention his name.

   "Things could be worse when considering that there is a lack of political and patriotic motive for participating in the elections in this governorate," he added.

   Despite the campaign advertisements aired by satellite channels and pamphlets handed out by US forces, it is expected that the turnout may not exceed 40 percent in the Sunni-dominated area.

   "We expect the participation to stand between 25 and 40 percent," Jibara told Xinhua, adding that likely voters come mainly from distant areas in the governorate populated with Shiites, Turkmen or Kurds.

   He attributed the possible low turnout in major cities to the lack of security and measures taken by Paul Bremer, former US administrator in Iraq, who dissolved the former Iraqi army and dismissed the Baath Party members from governmental institutions and departments.

   In an effort to boost the turnout, interim Iraqi President Ghazi Yawer has recently visited the governorate and met with heads of tribes, trying to persuade them to participate in the political process so that the Sunni Arabs would not be marginalized.

   Prime Minister Ayad Allawi also assured the governorate of solving all the problems to win support. The province was the only governorate that Allawi has visited twice in less than two weeks.

   "When I return to my work and get the first payment, my family has the hope of a decent living," said Abdul Razaq Mohamed, a former officer in the army reinstated recently.

   "If the fear is gone and I am convinced by the candidates, then I will be the first to go to the voting center even if it is in the western desert," he said. 

Enditem

  Related Story
Copyright ©2003 Xinhua News Agency. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.