Iraqi voters refused to be intimidated despite insurgent attacks designed to keep them away from polling places this past weekend. At least 36 people were killed. Ten million voters showed up at 10,000 polling places to vote for over 6,000 candidates in Iraq’s general election, a 62 percent turnout according to the BBC. For comparison, voter turnout in the U.S. for the 2008 presidential election was 56.8 percent.
Anbar, a mainly Sunni province had a 61 percent voter turnout, significant because there were fears that Sunnis might not show up to vote due to previous feelings of hostility.
Many Sunnis reportedly cast their ballots for former secular (and Shiite) interim Iraqi leader Ayad Allawi's faction. Prime Minister Nouri Maliki’s State of Law Coalition is expected to win most of the seats but it is unlikely that one party will form a government alone.
The final results are not expected until the end of March.
Does this indicate that Iraq is embracing Democracy? And once Iraq establishes a democratic government, will it then pressure the United States to keep troops there longer, or to withdraw more quickly?
Carl Conetta, co-director of the Project on Defense Alternatives and author of Should We Stay or Should We Go? The U.S. Debate on Exiting Iraq answered these and other questions as our guest on today's News Talk Online on the Paltalk News Network.