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Last Updated: Monday, 31 January, 2005, 12:02 GMT
Poll commands world press respect
World press graphic

The fact that Iraq held relatively free elections against all the odds is greeted in papers across the globe with praise tempered with scepticism. There is a broad consensus that this was a flawed poll, but one which nonetheless marks something of a victory for democracy over "terror".


People prepared to risk their lives to vote deserve not our cynicism, but our respect and hope.

Pakistan's The Dawn


People could not vote in the real sense because they were overwhelmed by fears, even though they were in their own country. What is the meaning of democracy if deaths and bomb blasts take place every day and people cannot sleep or dream peacefully?

Malaysia's Utusan Malaysia


How was the election in Iraq like a washing machine? With the dials set on spin, it was on yet another cycle to launder some post-war stains, revealing the occasional dirty linen.

Malaysia's The Sunday Star


The election may possibly comfort some politicians, but it is doubtful if it will open a window of peace for Iraqis.

China's China Daily


All people who have won their right to freedom of expression and freedom to vote - including those in Taiwan - must share the joy the Iraqis feel at taking their first major step towards a new democracy. For this reason, we congratulate the people of Iraq for exercising their new rights and wish the election every success.

Taiwan's The China Post


It would be difficult to underestimate the hurdles standing in the way of developing a stable, democratic Iraq. But yesterday's high turnout, despite the threat of violence, bodes well for future progress.

Hong Kong's South China Morning Post


The first national assembly election for Iraqis to select their representatives after the US military-led war was a touchstone for the democratisation of the Middle East.

Japan's Asahi Shinbun


So completely short does this Iraqi election fall of accepted electoral standards that were it to be held in say, Zimbabwe, Myanmar or Syria, the US would be the first to denounce it and the international community would follow suit.

Kenya's The Nation


Should we celebrate these elections? Yes, unreservedly. We must not forget that Iraq had never known free elections before, not even under the monarchy. At the same time, who can fail to see that these polls took place in the worst possible conditions?

France's Le Monde


Even though the polls may not have been totally free and fair, nor the reported turnout figures entirely reliable, this does not make the elections any less of a striking victory of "the kamikaze of democracy" over the "kamikaze of terror".

France's Liberation


It looked like an impossible gamble, and yet the first phase has turned out all right. Iraqis chose to vote because freedom is the wish of all people, not a relative "Western" value. The success of a system of freedom in this Arab country could also become a beacon for the rest of the region.

Belgium's De Standaard


Certainly the elections do not spell the end of the problems, nor do they provide a justification after the fact for a war which has been shown up for the vile thing it was.

Swiss Le Temps


Against the bombers, the vote. It is true that these elections will not deal with what lies at the core of the crisis, but they will encourage the Iraqis in the belief that it is up to them to find the political solution to their tragedy.

Spain's El Pais


The courage to vote and the surprisingly high turnout demonstrate above all a rejection of the terrorists.

Germany's Berliner Zeitung.


Yes, this victory belongs to the Americans, to President Bush, if you like. America and its allies have emerged victorious from this contest.

Hungary's Nepszabadsag


The most important question now is: what will the outcome of these elections be, held in conditions of democracy crawling on all fours, and under the eyes of US soldiers on the one hand and a threat of terrorist attacks on the other. And after the predicted success of the Shiite parties, won't Iraq look like its neighbour Iran? And will it survive?

Poland's Rzeczpospolita


Iraqis showed up in huge numbers at ballot boxes to vote for democracy and reconstruction over terrorism, dictatorship and occupation.

Iran's Iran Daily


The Iraqi people want democracy like the rest of the Arab peoples subjugated under dictatorial leaders. The overwhelming turnout is enough evidence in this respect. However, this does not mean that these elections are genuine and that the outcome will save the country from its escalating quagmire.

London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi


The Arab world wakes up this morning to a new reality in Iraq.

Israel's Yediot Aharonot


BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.




SEE ALSO:
Iraq poll 'a victory over terror'
31 Jan 05 |  Middle East
A turning point for Iraq?
31 Jan 05 |  Middle East


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