Monday, January 31, 2005

IRAQ - Some just voted for food.

January 31, 2005

Some Just Voted for Food

Inter Press Service reported:

"Voting in Baghdad was linked with receipt of food rations, several voters said after the Sunday poll.

"Many Iraqis said Monday that their names were marked on a list provided by the government agency that provides monthly food rations before they were allowed to vote.

"'I went to the voting centre and gave my name and district where I lived to a man,' said Wassif Hamsa, a 32-year-old journalist who lives in the predominantly Shia area Janila in Baghdad. This man then sent me to the person who distributed my monthly food ration.'

"Mohammed Ra'ad, an engineering student who lives in the Baya'a district of the capital city reported a similar experience. Ra'ad, 23, said he saw the man who distributed monthly food rations in his district at his polling station. 'The food dealer, who I know personally of course, took my name and those of my family who were voting,' he said. 'Only then did I get my ballot and was allowed to vote.'

"'Two of the food dealers I know told me personally that our food rations would be withheld if we did not vote,' said Saeed Jodhet, a 21-year-old engineering student who voted in the Hay al-Jihad district of Baghdad."

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