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February 2, 2009
Iraq supports ruling party in early election results

This weekend, Iraq voted for council members in 14 of the country’s 18 provinces. The votes are still being counted, but early signs point to a big gain for the party of the prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki.

Anthony Shadid, a Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent for The Washington Post, speaks with Worldfocus from Baghdad about the results.

Mohamad Bazzi, the former Middle East bureau chief at Newsday and a current faculty member of New York University, joins Martin Savidge to discuss the timetable for U.S. withdrawal, the future of the Sunni Awakening Councils after the elections and Iran’s role in Iraq.

Below, bloggers on the ground and elsewhere discuss the significance of the elections.

Blogger “Pentra” writes that, while skeptical, he voted in Baghdad as U.S. forces watched.

Another blogger in Iraq notes the welcome sense of normality, writing that “police were standing around, relaxed, smoking cigarettes and waving at us as we went by.”

The “Far from Perfect” blog, written by a medic stationed in Iraq, reports that there was “complete quiet,” and adds that Iraqis take elections more seriously than Americans.

Another blogger from an infantry unit in Iraq writes that he has seen “tangible results of the hard work so many have done here.”

The New York Times’ “Baghdad Bureau” blog posts personal accounts from Iraqis.

The “In Iraq” blog, written by an embedded journalist, writes about how elections have changed since 2005.

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