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U.S. Lowers Expectations On Iraq Vote

With just over two weeks until the Iraqi elections, the United States is lowering its expectations for both the turnout and the results of the vote, increasingly emphasizing other steps over the next year as more important to Iraq’s political transformation, according to U.S. officials.The Bush administration played down voter turnout yesterday in determining the elections’ legitimacy and urged Americans not to get bogged in a numbers game in judging the balloting, a reflection of the growing concern over how much the escalating insurgency and the problem of Sunni participation may affect the vote. “I would . . . really encourage people not to focus on numbers, which in themselves don’t have any meaning, but to look on the outcome and to look at the government that will be the product of these elections,” a senior administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity at a White House briefing yesterday. The official highlighted the low voter turnout in U.S. elections as evidence that polling numbers are not essential to legitimacy.Full Story

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