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The Scene of Iraq before the Referendum to Extend the President’s Term of Office

The Scene of Iraq before the Referendum to Extend the President’s Term of Office

Posted October. 14, 2002 23:35,   


It was the 14th (local time), one day before the referendum to decide to extend the Iraqi President Sadam Hussein`s term of office to 7 years. The AP reported from Baghdad that the city was filled with posters, banners, and slogans to appeal royalty and votes for him. The following is a summary of reportage by an AP reporter.

The matter of the Iraqi referendum on the 15th is not whether the lone candidate President Hussein`s term will be extended or not. The matter of primary concern is whether he gets more support rate than 99.96% that he got in 95. People here think that rate is ‘a tepid number.’

Most buildings put up banners in white, red, green, and yellow. This is the only bright thing that you can see in this gray city captured in international isolation and economical sanction for last ten years.

Banners in Arabic saying, “Vote for the great leader Hussein. Vote for him,” and “Iraq will win. God, save our leader,” can be seen everywhere. I could see a banner saying, “Yes, Yes, Yes, Sadam! No, No, No, America” at a wall of a school in the road to a factory complex that America elucidated as a nuclear facility.

People are convinced a victory. An engineer Acmad Abdul Sahibe said, “This referendum will be a challenge of Iraqi people to America, and he will get higher support rate than last time.” A labor worker Mayad Iwan also shouted out, “It will be 100% this time,” and “because the Iraqi people love our leader.”

A housewife, who went to a market, with a baby in her back said, “Our message to the outside world is that we love Sadam Hussein.”

However, I could not hear an answer to the question where the 0.04% of opposing votes was from. A group of soldiers, who were asked this question, were confused and showed they were frozen.

People are already preparing a victory celebration party like a ‘wedding night.’ Artists are discussing with the media how to praise the leader. In the meantime, the Iraqi Department of Public Information prepared a press center in Baghdad and start receiving foreign reporters. It seems that the number of foreign reporters, who received invitation visas from the Iraqi Department of Public Information and are coming to Baghdad, will be up to 500. The officials become enthusiastic to promote all that taking the reporters to industrial complexes and the National Assembly Hall.