Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Plus Ça Change

Much about the occasion seemed Orwellian, at least to those accustomed to Western-style democracies. In 1995, the first time such a referendum was held, official results gave Mr. Hussein a 99.96 percent ''yes'' vote, on a voter turnout of 99 percent. With nine million voters, that meant, taken literally, only about 3,600 Iraqis, give or take, spoiled their ballots or voted no.

—From a John F. Burns story in the Oct. 16, 2002 New York Times about Saddam Hussein’s “reelection,” which Hussein did win by 99 percent again.

Iraqi election officials said Monday that they were investigating "unusually high" vote totals in 12 Shiite and Kurdish provinces, where as many as 99 percent of the voters were reported to have cast ballots in favor of Iraq's new constitution. The investigation raised the possibility that the results of the referendum could be called into question.

—The New York Times, Oct. 18, 2005.