- Title: IRAQ: BASRA SCENES AS ELECTION NEARS.
- Date: 28th January 2005
- Summary: (BN11) BASRA, IRAQ (JANUARY 27, 2005) (REUTERS-ACCESS ALL) 1. GV/CU/MV: BRITISH SOLDIERS IN STREET WITH IRAQIS; BRITISH SOLDIER NEAR HIS VEHICLE (4 SHOTS) 0.21 2. MCU: CLOSE OF BRITISH SOLDIER WITH AN ELECTION POSTER READING "ONLY DAYS REMAIN" ON WALL ON BACKGROUND 0.26 3. GV: BRITISH SOLDIER STANDING WATCH AS MAN FIXING ELECTION POSTER TO WALL 0.31 4. LV: BRITISH SOLDIERS AND POLICE CAR 0.41 5. GV/CU/GV: TRAFFIC IN MAIN SQUARE; MONUMENT IN SQUARE; TRAFFIC SCENE (3 SHOTS) 0.56 6. GV: GUARDS STANDING WATCH OUTSIDE A SCHOOL BUILDING SERVING AS VOTING CENTER WITH WALL COVERED WITH ELECTION POSTERS; CLOSE OF POSTERS ON WALL; WOMAN WITH CHILD WALKING PAST WALL COVERED WITH POSTERS (4 SHOTS) 1.13 7. GV: EXTERIOR OF MOQTADA AL-SADR'S OFFICE IN BASRA 1.17 8. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SAAD AL-BASRI, HEAD OF MOQTADA AL-SADR'S OFFICE IN BASRA, SAYING: "In fact, we have suspended our participation in the elections and we will not contest these elections because there are many shortcomings and out of fear for the credibility of the elections, especially that it will not be held under the supervision of the United Nations but under the direct supervision of the Americans, God damn them." 1.38 9. GV/CU: TWO MEN FIXING BANNER TO WALL; CLOSE OF BANNER OF THE INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSION OF IRAQ READING: "ELECT WHOEVER YOU WANT..ONLY THE ONE YOU WANT" (2 SHOTS) 1.48 10. MV/CU: PEOPLE HANGING POSTERS ON WALL (2 SHOTS) 1.56 11. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MURAD HAMMED, STUDENT IN BASRA UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "Basically, election is a national duty for every honest Iraqi and it is our duty and the duty of all the Iraqis to participate in the elections because holding of the elections in this time is the basic demand of every Iraqi to establish a free Iraq." 2.20 12. GV: MAN DISTRIBUTING ELECTION FLYERS TO CARS URGING PEOPLE TO VOTE (3 SHOTS) 2.37 13. GV: TRAFFIC IN STREET WITH POSTERS; POSTER PROMOTING PRIME MINISTER IYAD ALLAWI WITH SLOGAN "POWERFUL LEADERSHIP, SECURE COUNTRY." 2.45 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 12th February 2005 12:00
- Location: BASRA, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Reuters ID: LVAEPHO6VIYUKRCGREBF7W9USC4I
- Story Text: As Iraqi election nears candidates campaign openly
Basking in relative calm and security compared to
other parts of the country, the people of Iraq's southern
port city of Basra continued to work for the January 30
elections on Thursday (January 27).
British troops, who control the city carry out almost
daily search and secure operations in a number of areas in
and around Basra city and voting centers across the city
were protected with armed men.
Campaigning in much of Iraq is frequently a furtive,
dangerous affair, best done on the quiet, if at all. But in
the predominantly Shi'ite south, where the party identified
with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, symbolized by a
burning candle and called the United Iraqi Coalition List,
is one of dozens openly campaigning.
The reclusive, white-bearded Ayatollah Sistani is the
first among equals in the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf, and his edicts
rry the force of law among the devout. He has
yet to formally endorse the United Iraqi Alliance, but his
portrait adorns its posters, and in written statements, he
has "blessed" its candidates.
But while the followers of al-Sistani actively
campaign, followers of the young firebrand Shi'ite cleric
Moqtada al-Sadr, who is not standing, distanced themselves
from the election, questioning its credibility.
"We have suspended our participation in the elections
and we will not contest these elections because there are
many shortcomings and out of fear for their credibility of
the elections, especially that it will not be held under
the supervision of the United Nations but under the direct
supervision of the Americans," said Saad al-Basri, head of
Sadr's office in Basra.
Basra is Iraq's second largest city, and the province
as a whole has about 1.8 million people. Taken together,
the seven provinces that make up the comparatively peaceful
south have about 7.7 million of Iraq's estimated total
population of just under 28 million people.
The security situation in the south is far from perfect
- as militants recently fired mortar shells at four
provincial schools designated as polling stations. But
Iraqis in the south, a neglected region in the best of
times under Saddam Hussein and the focus of the horrific
Iran-Iraq war in the 1980's, do not seem fazed by a few
attacks a week.
"Basically, election is a national duty for every
honest Iraqi and its our duty and the duty of all the
Iraqis to participate in the elections because the holding
of the elections in this time is the basic demand of every
Iraqi to establish a free Iraq," said Murad Hameed, a
post-graduate student at Basra University.
Voters will cast ballots on Sunday for a 275-member
National Assembly. The assembly will choose a president and
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