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'World hears voice of freedom from Iraq'

US President Bush has described the first free election in Iraq in 50 years as rejection of "anti-democratic ideology of terrorists."
PTI | By Indo-Asian News Service, Washington
UPDATED ON JAN 31, 2005 06:10 PM IST

US President George W Bush has described the first free election in Iraq in 50 years as a rejection of the "anti-democratic ideology of terrorists."

"Today the people of Iraq have spoken to the world, and the world is hearing the voice of freedom from the centre of the Middle East. In great numbers, and under great risk, Iraqis have shown their commitment to democracy," Bush said in a statement.

"By participating in free elections, the Iraqi people have firmly rejected the anti-democratic ideology of the terrorists. They have refused to be intimidated by thugs and assassins. And they have demonstrated the kind of courage that is always the foundation of self-government."

Iraq held its first free polls in 50 years Sunday and election officials said the voter turnout was a high 60 per cent.

Saying there was more distance to travel on the road to democracy, Bush said Iraqis were "proving they're equal to the challenge".

"One news account told of a voter who had lost a leg in a terror attack last year, and went to the polls today despite threats of violence. He said, 'I would have crawled here if I had to. I don't want terrorists to kill other Iraqis like they tried to kill me. Today I am voting for peace,'" he said.

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