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Last Updated: Monday, 17 October 2005, 14:05 GMT 15:05 UK
Press sees hope after Iraq vote

Newspapers in the Middle East are encouraged by the Iraqi constitution referendum, although they see a long road ahead until stability is achieved.

In Iraq itself, where many papers have failed to publish over the past few days because of an election holiday, one daily is optimistic, while another links the vote to a call for the expulsion of a controversial Iranian rebel group.

Ali Khlayf in Iraq's pro-Shiite Al-Adalah

The fact that cannot be denied or concealed is that Iraqis have defeated their enemies: terrorists, dark forces and those who dream of a return of the unfair equation. What has been achieved for Iraq would not have seen the light of day had it not been for the sacrifices by Iraqis and their friends. The time of coercion and pressure has gone for good, and the time of freedom and democracy has come. Democracy and freedom have been created in Iraq by all the honourable men in the world who have stood by Iraq in its ordeal, offering all that is dear to them.

Alya al-Ansari in Al-Adalah

We cannot wait for others to make our future or ask them to solve our problems or heal our wounds. We will test our will to make our decisions and our bravery to say our word. We are invincible people. We shall achieve victory, just as we did before.

Commentary in Iraq's independent Al-Shahid

Now that Iraqis have voted on their new constitution which has put an end to the presence of the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organisation in Iraq, we believe that the Iraqi government is now required to take action and implement the constitutional article concerning this terrorist organisation. It should be brave, expel it from Iraq, given the danger it poses and especially the horrible crimes it committed. The Mojahedin-e Khalq has no place in the new Iraq.

Egypt's pro-government Al-Ahram

Without a doubt, the referendum on Iraq's constitution is a decisive step in Iraq's development. The adoption of this constitution by the Iraqi people will prove an important step towards resolving the dangerous crisis in Iraq.

Jordan's Al-Dustur

The constitutional referendum was historic, considering that it took place in a country that has lived under a totalitarian regime for many decades. For Iraqis to go and cast their votes means that an important stage has been reached.

Iran's moderate Mardom-Salari

Although a positive vote in the referendum will not end terror and violence in Iraq, it will push the project of creating an Iraqi nation one step forward.

Iran's moderate Etemaad

The referendum in Iraq was a new experience not only for the Iraqi people but also for other Arab nations in the Middle East. However, it cannot guarantee the institutionalisation of democracy in this war-stricken country. What can make yesterday's experience so sweet for the people is their firm willingness to keep what they have achieved so far in order to establish a legal system that is based on the general consensus, and where civil rights of Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis are equally respected.

Saudi Arabia's Al-Riyadh

Approving the constitution in its current form may be welcomed by many Iraqis, not because of amendments to it but because Iraqis are fed up with all the toppled governments which have transformed the country into a jungle of beasts and mercenary soldiers who fight wars and cause psychological and moral damage to society. This is the excuse for accepting the constitution with all its faults and drawbacks.

Saudi Arabia's pro-government Al-Watan

The initial results of the referendum confirm that there is real division among the Iraqi people. It had been hoped that Iraqis would vote after having agreed on steps for the future, rather than while they continued to oppose each other.

London-based Arab nationalist Al-Quds Al-Arabi

Whether it is adopted or rejected, the new constitution supports personal and sectarian divisions between Iraqis.

Ahmad al-Rub'i in London-based Saudi-owned Al-Sharq al-Awsat

From the behaviour of some Sunni leaders, it is clear that they are opposed to the entire political process. This is not about demands for amendments to the constitution, this is rather about efforts to support the continuation of violence and terrorism.

Iran's reformist Sharq

Iraqis will gradually learn how to ignore ethnic and partisan gains in favour of national interests. Whatever the result of the referendum, living in a situation in which one can vote "no" is better than living in a system in which the people's demands are shaped by psychological warfare.

Egypt's pro-government Al-Akhbar

The people of Iraq should accept the results of the referendum and move forward in confidence to build a new Iraq which currently needs their collective effort.

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