This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.
Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index
BBC Learning English Launch BBC Media Player
  • Help
  • Text only
You are in:Learning English > News English > Words in the News
Learning English - Words in the News
Millions of Iraqis vote in election
Iraq election ballot papers being counted.

The votes are being counted in Iraq's first democratic election in decades. It is estimated that 60 percent of the population, about 8 million people, voted. This report from Paul Wood:

Listen to the story

The votes were counted overnight, often in candlelight because of power cuts. Millions of Iraqis turned out to vote in defiance of threats from insurgents. There was even a baby born in a polling station to an expectant mother determined that nothing would stop her from casting a ballot. President Bush called it a resounding success. The size of the turnout may have surprised even the White House since before the poll began officials had been briefing that just to hold an election at all was an achievement, whatever the numbers voting. That statement still holds true for Sunni areas, for places like Fallujah, where people literally risked their lives to vote, albeit in small numbers.

The Iraqi electoral commission told us that even in these Sunni areas turnout was higher than expected, although they had no figures. The final figures for turnout and the certified results of this election may not be available for another ten days. After that a new government will be formed. It will oversee the writing of a new constitution and a status of forces agreement with the coalition, making clear that British and American troops will one day withdraw from Iraq.

Paul Wood, Middle East correspondent, Baghdad

Listen to the words

in defiance of
not stopped by, disregarding

polling station
a building where polling (voting) take place.

casting a ballot
voting, a ballot is the piece of paper which is used to vote

a resounding success
a great success

the turnout
the number of people who voted

still holds true
continues to be true


certified results
final and officially recognised results

temporary government run by more than one group, in this case, led by USA

Other Stories