Iraq tribes threaten to take up arms over polls
The January 2009 Provincial elections seem to have gone ahead without any major serious incidents in 14 of the 18 provinces of Iraq. This was seen by many as a test of Iraq's attempt to stabilize itself and establish a modern democratic society. Even though the final results of these elections will not be out until next week, preliminary reports show a watershed in both the number of people expected to vote including the Sunni's who had boycotted the 2005 elections, and the direction in which the elections seem to be going. The nationalist and secular parties and candidates seem to doing well, compared to the religiously motivated Sunni and Shiite parties. It has also been reported the the Iraqi PM Maliki has done well in Baghdad, Basra and the Shiite Strongholds in the Southern provinces. A major problem that had cast a shadow over the relative success of the elections was the allegation of fraud in the province of Anbar, where the tribal leaders had accused the Iraqi Islamic Party of rigging the election to ensure they remain in power. The Awakening Movement head, Sheikh Ahmed Abu Risha, had threatened to embark on a tribal war against the electoral commission and the IIP. There have also been reports of people voting twice in some areas and others not finding their names on the voting registers and so were turned away. The credibility of these elections has been questioned by Iraqs own citizens.