US embassy cable - 05BAGHDAD4235

IRAQI REFERENDUM 001 (OCTOBER 15)

Identifier: 05BAGHDAD4235
Wikileaks: View 05BAGHDAD4235 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Baghdad
Created: 2005-10-15 11:14:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PHUM KDEM KISL PNAT IZ
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BAGHDAD 004235 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR S/S-O: IRAQI REFERENDUM MONITORING 
GROUP 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/15/2015 
TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, KDEM, KISL, PNAT, IZ 
SUBJECT: IRAQI REFERENDUM 001 (OCTOBER 15) 
 
Classified By: Political Counselor Robert S. Ford for reasons 1.4 
(B) and (D). 
 
 1. (S) Summary.  As of midday October 15, the Iraqi 
constitutional referendum generally was proceeding operating 
smoothly with problems most notably in Anbar and Ninewa; in 
both 
governorates it appears many polling stations did not open. 
The 
Independent Election Commission of Iraq (IECI) reported that 
as 
of 0900 hrs, 5879 of 6293 polling stations nationwide are 
operating.  IECI said that it was still investigating the 
status 
of the remaining 414 stations. Large voter turnout is 
reported 
in Mosul, Fallujah and Kirkuk.  Most voters interviewed 
indicate 
that they plan to vote for the draft constitution.  The 
referendum is not completely without incident.  The night 
before 
the referendum, the press reported insurgent attacks at 
polling 
centers in the Dora, al-Ilam and Bayaah districts of Baghdad 
with no injuries.  In Baqubah, Diyala an insurgent attack on 
a 
polling center left a policeman dead and 4 injured. 
Al-Jazeera 
TV reported that insurgents set fire to the Iraqi Islamic 
Party 
headquarters located in Bayji, Salah ad-Din. There is an 
unconfirmed report of a suicide bomber in Mosul.  IECI is 
pleased with the voting process through mid-morning, and they 
are working to resolve problems at some centers, e.g. voting 
lists shifted to another center, lack of materials. End 
Summary. 
 
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BAGHDAD 
------- 
 
IECI reports good turnout in the capital.  Poloffs visited 
the 
Karada and Karkh districts, midmorning.  Situation was quiet 
and 
orderly.  A crowd of young men proudly showed us their inked 
fingers and said people in their district would not be 
deterred 
from voting.  POLMILOFF visited Sadr City with 3ID and found 
the 
atmosphere to be festive and crowded.  IP's seemed mostly 
concerned about their ability to return home on time due to 
the 
number of people voting. 
 
---- 
IECI 
---- 
 
2. (U) As of 1100, the IECI reported that it could confirm 
that 
5879 of 6239 polling stations are open.  UN Elections 
Assistance 
Division (EAD) officer told PolOff that the voting 
process through mid-morning had run well.  He said that the 
IECI 
is a working to resolve problems at some centers where voting 
lists shifted to another center, there are a lack of 
materials 
at certain centers and that some police and military not able 
to 
vote because they are stationed out of their district. 
 
---------------------------- 
INCIDENTS AND IRREGULARITIES 
---------------------------- 
 
3. (U) There was an unconfirmed report of a suicide bomber in 
South Mosul and hostage taking in Eastern Ramadi. 
Al-Sharquiyah 
TV reported that during the night on Friday October 14, in 
Baghdad, insurgents attacked four polling centers in the 
Dora, 
al-Ilam and Bayaah districts.  Gunfire exchanged between 
insurgents and polling center guards did not result in any 
injuries or deaths.  However, in Ba'qubah an insurgent attack 
on 
a polling center resulted in the death of one policeman and 
four 
injured.  Al Jazeera TV reported in Fallujah that insurgents 
set 
fire to the Iraqi Islamic Party Headquarters.  Al Farhat TV 
reported that Karbala Iraqi military troops fought with Iraqi 
police as they tried to enter the city to take up their 
positions at polling centers. 
 
---------------------- 
POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS 
---------------------- 
 
4. (U) News reports indicated that President Talabani was the 
first person to vote at the Convention Center polling 
station. 
Prime Minister Jaafari was not far behind.  Both made 
positive 
statements about the ancipated success of the referendum. 
Television reporting indicated that the Muslim Ulema Council 
(MUC) may have confused its voters with its stance on the 
referendum.  MUC Spokesman Issam al-Rawi told one television 
correspondent that the MUC was split between those who wanted 
a 
boycott of the referendum and those who urged a "No" vote. 
Rawi 
said that he personally would go to the polls and vote no and 
that the MUC had not explicitly forbidden voting.  Umma Party 
leader Mithal Alusi, himself a Sunni Arab from Anbar, 
lambasted 
the Ulema Council and National Dialogue Council in an 
interview 
on al-Hurra.  He asked why those who had called for a no vote 
had not produced an alternative constitution.  They simply 
want 
to block the entire political process, he answered, and they 
have no alternative to offer but a return to fascism and 
massacres.  Alusi joked that if groups like the MUC were to 
write a constitution of their own its theme would be "Unity, 
Freedom, and Socialism," the infamous Ba'ath Party slogan. 
 
------------------ 
PROVINCIAL TIDBITS 
------------------ 
 
5. (C) Color from the provinces: 
 
-- Al Anbar: Of the 207 polling stations in Al-Anbar, 144 
were 
open as of 0900 hrs.  (NOTE: In anticipation that not all 
sites 
would be open, the IECI rules allow Anbaris to vote at any 
station in the governorate.)  Al-Anbar surge team reported 
that 
there are no problems at the polling locations.  Coordination 
with IP has been excellent.  Fallujah Chief of Police told 
the 
team late night Ramadan activities may have kept many in bed 
this morning.  He said he expected increased voter 
participation 
as the day progresses. Imams encouraged participation at 
Friday 
prayers but most did not specifically call for a "No" vote. 
 
-- Ninewa: 236 of 520 polling stations are open.  Mayor of 
Rabiya complained to an election monitor that some stations 
lacked voter materials.  IECI is investigating.  Mayor of 
Qaraqosh told election monitors that everything was running 
smoothly in his district.  A Regional Coordinator reported 
that 
people mulling about downtown Mosul complained they did not 
have 
n oppotuniyto rad te rft cntituton before voting. 
Council member of the Chaldean Democratic Union Party told 
PolOff that there has been a good turnout and no security 
problems in Telesqof, Telkaif, Batnaya, and Alnosh. 
 
-- Kirkuk: REO reports that the security plan in Kirkuk seems 
to 
be working with large numbers of people voting without 
incident. 
 
-- Salah ah-Din: IECI reports all polling stations are open. 
 
-- Babil/Hillah: The Hillah Surge Team reported that 
spontaneous 
celebrations broke out in the streets as journalists traveled 
to 
the polling sites.  The mayor of Hillah told the team that 
there 
are fairly large numbers across south central, with 
reportedly 
large numbers of female voters. 
 
Early morning reports from local Hillah polling stations 
indicate heavy initial voter turnout amid equally heavy 
security.  Police are searching everyone, including IECI 
staff, 
entering the voting centers, according to REO Hillah staff on 
the scene.  Local mosques are actively encouraging a "yes" 
vote. 
Political party representatives are present at the polling 
stations along with local observers. 
 
-- Diyala:  IECI reports that all polling stations are open. 
PolOff reported that voter turnout is so high in the Khalis 
district that they opened two new stations at the existing Hi 
Gin and Jadeida polling centers. 
 
-- Wasit: REO reported that in Wasit Province, turnout has 
been 
"good", according to a local contact who visited several 
polling 
sites in provincial capital Kut.  About 20-30 people were in 
line at each of the four polling places visited.  No security 
problem has been reported. About 4,000 Iraqi army recruits 
who 
were training in Numaniyah where there's a massive military 
base 
were unable to vote because they were not registered in Wasit 
Province, according to an IECI official.  The recruits were 
reportedly "very upset". 
 
-- Basrah:  At the al-Ashaws polling center 945010 there was 
an 
average wait was 15 minutes to vote.  The unalphabetized 
registration list has caused delays in processing at many 
centers.  Most people interviewed indicated that plan to vote 
Yes on the constitution.  Many complained about the 1-2 km 
distance to reach the polling center to vote. Several old 
women 
chanted at the Mroj polling center, "We Win, We Win." 
 
-- Karbala: A police officer from the Karbala Joint 
Coordination 
Command (JCC) reported that "many people" were streaming 
toward 
polling sites and things are "very quiet". In addition, Iraqi 
army forces are roving throughout the province. 
Khalilzad 

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