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In a body blow to the hysterics and Chicken Littles in American politics, the top UN electoral expert in Baghdad told the Associated Press that Iraqi elections were "on track" and that there is no necessity for large-scale observation missions to establish their credibility:
Preparations for the crucial January election are "on track" and the absence of international observers due to the country's tenuous security should not detract from the vote's credibility, the top U.N. electoral expert here said. ...
"International observation is important only in that it's symbolic," Carlos Valenzuela told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday. "I don't think that the process will be less credible without observers, absolutely not. They are not the essence. They are not essential. They are not important. If they can come, fine, of course."
Valenzuela was responding to a complaint from Iraqi officials that the UN was shirking its duties to provide electoral workers and observers. Up to now, the UN has played up the importance of its own role in establishing the credibility of any electoral results, but Valenzuela appears to have dismissed that entirely. He told the AP that the number of workers already in Iraq should be sufficient for their mission, and that the Iraqis have to establish their own credibility -- a common-sense statement, thankfully lacking in the self-aggrandizement provided so often by UN chief Kofi Annan. Annan would only acknowledge that Iraqi elections in January were still "technically possible."
Valenzuela is no rookie at this, either. He has led observer teams in several countries as they struggled to recover from war, and says that just as in past situations, events could impact the schedule. He stresses that the UN position has always been to enable local political "entities" to effectively observe the electoral process and correct any issues. In fact, since international observers usually are unfamiliar with the country and elections take place in such a tight time frame, the most any of them can handle is a few trips to a handful of polling places. Without creating credible local observers, the UN can't verify anything.
Those who claim that George Bush lives outside of reality, as John Kerry put it earlier, because he insists that elections will be held on schedule may find this a shock. However, we saw the Iraqis take back their sovereignty on schedule when everyone said that the US simply could not deliver it. I find no reason to doubt that Bush means to stick to his timetable, but just as in Afghanistan, the doubters likely won't stop claiming the sky is falling until after the balloting starts.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» Where did I Put That Meme Anyway? from Cranial Cavity
Oh... there is it... but it seems to be dead! Preparations for the crucial January election are "on track" and the absence of international observers due to the country's tenuous security should not detract from the vote's credibility, the top U.N... [Read More]
Tracked on October 22, 2004 2:44 PM
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The UN has reported that: Preparations for the crucial January election are "on track" and the absence of international observers due to the country's tenuous security should not detract from the vote's credibility, the top U.N. electoral expert here ... [Read More]
Tracked on October 23, 2004 10:26 AM
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