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Basra bishop says Iraq vote signals fresh optimism

The Chaldean Archbishop of the southern Iraqi city of Basra has said that elections "are everything" for his people, and that from this point onwards they "can start hoping again".

AsiaNews reports that Archbishop Djibrail Kassab said that families returning from the polling stations told him they were "happy and optmistic". He described the situation is generally calm, with various members of the faithful telling him that they had been "suprised by the efficiency and organisation of the polling stations".

Estimates suggest that more than 70% of the population voted, a significantly figure than predicted. The Financial Times says that unlike the situation in other parts of Iraq, attempts by insurgents to intimidate the population into staying at home "clearly failed".

"We prayed for peace and democracy; we did so in the past, are doing so today, and will continue in the future," he said. "Christians, like all Iraqis, want nothing more than a government, a constitution, democracy".

Bishop of Basra: "Today we can start hoping again" ( 30/1/05)

Archbishop Djibrail Kassab (
Iraq election declared 'success' (BBC 30/1/05)
Basra's Shia voters flock to polling stations (Financial Times 30/1/05)
Basra: Early Calm, Then a Festive Stream of Voters (New York Times 30/1/05)
Iraq's Basra wary of violence but ready to vote (ABC-CBN 30/1/05)

Iraqi bishop says voting is a moral duty (CathNews 28/1/05)
Released archbishop calls for Iraq poll delay (CathNews 24/1/05)
Iraqi Archbishop released unharmed and without ransom being paid (CathNews 19/1/05)
Iraqi tells Pope that Christians will be defended (CathNews 14/12/04)

Msgr Warduni: a vote against terrorism ( 30/1/05)

31 Jan 2005