Dutch Iraqis register for historic election
17 January 2005, AMSTERDAM — Iraqi nationals living in the Netherlands started registering on Monday for the election planned for 30 January in the Middle East nation.
17 January 2005
AMSTERDAM — Iraqi nationals living in the Netherlands started registering on Monday for the election planned for 30 January in the Middle East nation.
Some 45,000 Iraqis will be able to vote in the Netherlands, with polling stations located in Amsterdam, Zwolle and Rotterdam. The registration offices will be open from 8am to 5pm from Monday until Sunday.
Voters will need to prove their identification and Iraqi citizenship and will be able to vote on 28, 29 and 30 January, news service NOS reported.
Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen has implemented an emergency bylaw to maintain security around the Dutch capital's polling station, located in a navy complex on the Kattenburgerstraat. Some 100 riot police officers are being deployed to maintain law and order.
Streets around the polling booth will also be partially sealed off, a bus line has been diverted and a parking ban has been introduced. Residents have been informed of the measures by letter.
Despite the security measures, Mayor Cohen said there is no indication that a terrorist attack is being planned.
Tight security is also in force in Zwolle, but the City Council will not go to the extremes taken in Amsterdam. Nevertheless, to ensure safety around the polling station in the Ecodrome, the environment information centre is closed to the general public until 1 February.
The polling booth in Rotterdam South is located on a boat moored to an otherwise empty dock in an industrial zone so that police can better maintain security. The council has also deployed extra officers and has approved random searches of passers-by.
Iraqi voters are registering right across the globe for the nation's first election in almost 50 years. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) is organising the elections in 14 countries with a large number of Iraqi immigrants.
The nations hosting overseas polling are Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Iran, Jordan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, the US and Turkey.
The IOM said it has ordered 2.5 million voter cards and said Iraqis are enthusiastic about the election. But some Iraqis are complaining about the distance they will need to travel in order to vote. In Australia, for example, Iraqis in Perth on the west coast will need to travel 2,700km to the nearest polling booth.
Officials in the US have also admitted that planning for Iraq's overseas vote has met with confusion as they struggled to organise the effort in just three months, CNN reported.
Meanwhile, at least 15 Iraqis were killed on Monday at checkpoints in two different cities as security preparations were getting under way for the upcoming elections.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news