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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Millions Of Iraqis Vote In Relative Peace

Millions of Iraqis, from tribal sheiks to entire families with children in tow, turned out Thursday to choose a parliament in a mostly peaceful election - among the freest ever in the Arab world.

Up to 11 million of the nation's 15 million registered voters took part, election officials estimated, though they had no official turnout figure.

"The number of people participating is very, very high, and we have had very few irregularities," U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad told The Associated Press. "It is a good day so far - good for us, good for Iraq."

Chiman Saleh, a Kurd in Kirkuk, said election day made her think of her two brothers killed by Saddam's forces in the 1980s.

"This is day is revenge for Saddam," she said. "This is one of the times that Iraqis are free to choose their candidates."

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