WASHINGTON -- January 26 -- Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) today said that Iraqi elections, to be held on Sunday, will be a farce. In a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and John Negroponte, the United States Ambassador to Iraq, Kucinich cites a total absence of international election monitors in Iraq for Sunday's elections. The closest international monitors will get to Iraq on Sunday will be Amman, Jordan.
In the letter, sent today, Kucinich states,
"It is clear, in just five days before the Iraqi elections are to be held, that it will be impossible to conclude anything about the extent to which corruption, voter intimidation or outright fraud will mar the results. The exercise will regrettably be a farce. The results will have no recognized legitimacy whatsoever, and surely do not merit association with the United States' notions of democracy.
"The elections will not yield certifiable results due to the pitifully small number of election observers, and the total absence of international election observers from the process. Indeed, according to the Washington Post, this is the first transitional election in the past two decades that will not have international election observers touring polling stations. As you know, international monitors have independently observed and evaluated elections throughout the world and have helped to point out when they are fraudulent and when they are legitimate."
In previous transitional elections across the world, the international community has sent teams of observers to polling sites. International observers have observed recent transitional elections in Nigeria in 1999, Haiti in 1990, East Timor in 2001-2002, and most recently in the second runoff election in the Ukraine.
No international body will have election monitors in Iraq on Sunday. The International Mission for Iraqi Elections, led by Canada's chief electoral officer, Jean-Pierre Kingsley, and comprised of less than two dozen election experts from Australia, Bangladesh, Britain, Canada, Ghana, Hungary, Indonesia, Mexico, Panama and Yemen, will monitor the elections, not in Iraq, but instead operate from Amman, Jordan.
"I hope the Administration does not engage in wishful thinking that this farce of an election can beget anything other than farce. What a disservice we do to Iraqis who risk danger to cast their votes or run for office in this irredeemable formality. And what distortion of real democracy is being done in America's name: It will surely discredit the United States in the eyes of the world," Kucinich concludes in his letter.