For Immediate Release
December 21, 2004
From remarks by President Bush, 12/20/04
Iraqis will go to the polls on Jan. 30 to express their will in free national elections. Preparations are under way for an energetic campaign, and participation is wide and varied.
More than 80 Iraqi parties and coalitions have been formed, and more than 7,000 candidates have registered for the elections.
When Iraqis vote, they will elect 275 members to a transitional national assembly, as well as local legislatures throughout the country.
The new national assembly will be responsible for drafting a constitution for a free Iraq. By next October, the constitution will be submitted to the people for ratification. If it is approved, Iraqi voters will -- by December -- elect a fully democratic constitutional government.
As the Iraqi people take these important steps on the path to democracy, the enemies of freedom know exactly what is at stake: that a democratic Iraq will be a decisive blow to their ambitions because free people will never choose to live in tyranny.
Terrorists will attempt to delay the elections, to intimidate people in their country, and to disrupt the democratic process in any way they can. President Bush is confident of the result; of the certainty that the terrorists will fail; that elections will go forward; and that Iraq will be a democracy that reflects the values and traditions of its people.
Free societies do not export terror. Free nations are peaceful nations, and free nations in the heart of the Middle East will show what is possible to others who want to live in a free society.