Saturday, August 13, 2005

New poll from Iraq 

Our special correspondent Haider Ajina writes:
The following is my translation of a headline and article in the August 13th Edition of the Iraqi Arabic newspaper "Sotaliraq":

Iraqi poll shows 87% of Iraqis prefer a federal rather than a central government.

A poll taken by 76 branches of an organization, which calls it self "Citizen's Alliance for Free Elections" (CAFE) shows that 87.1% of Iraqis polled prefer a federal rather than a central government.

The poll, published on Thursday, was of 30,000 Iraqis in all 18 provinces, and took 2 months to conduct, [was unveiled] in a press conference held by (CAFE) and attended by four of its prominent members. Dr. Janan Mubarek (a woman) (president of the Iraqi center for the advancement of working women) and Mr. Salem Albedry (president of Students against war) and Mr. Fahed Jawad of the "Al-Wusool" a humanitarian organization and Mr. Alwan Aljeboory. All confirmed the following results:

87.1% of those Iraqi polled prefer a federal rather than a central government.

84.4% of those polled requested that it be mandated that women to receive representation.

10.4% said they did not want women to get any representation.

65% preferred that Islam be one of the religious sources for the constitution.

26% prefer that Islam be the only source for the constitution.

Those in attendance discussed the results of the poll. Mr. Albedry said that CAFE had embarked on a national campaigned to educate Iraqi citizens about the constitution during the month of June & July. "We did this by organizing town hall educational meetings in all of Iraq's 18 provinces. We put together almost 1500 meetings, which were attended by 43,303 Iraqis (as of July 25th)."

Mr. Albedry added that hundreds of our members, who are trained volunteers, organized these meetings and the education of the citizens. They also took the poll during these meetings and reported the results to the Iraqi national congress. Dr. Mubarek said that the polling questions were not filled haphazardly. The people answered the questions in the poll after being educated at the meetings. This solidifies the poll's importance.

At the closing of the conference members of the CAFE appealed to the Iraqi national congress to seriously consider the results of this poll while writing the constitution.

Those opposed to the poll say that the poll was not scientific because it did not have scientific parameters and to be cautious in interpreting the results. They did however point out that the large number of people polled makes it a significant important poll.
The last point is an important one - the poll is not scientific, but it accords with anecdotal evidence - for example, the Kurds are overwhelmingly in favor of federalism, and Shia increasingly so (by the way, the link in Arabic is here).


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