Iraq Ballot Vote Sees Allegations Of Corruption, Intimidation

BAGHDAD // It was the country's first ballot of 2009 -- a year that could see 10 different elections in Iraq -- and according to some voters, it was marred by corruption, intimidation and abuse of power.

The people of Basra had been asked this month to vote on whether or not they wanted the province to become an independent region, similar to the Kurdish autonomous zone in northern Iraq. It was really a preliminary ballot -- a vote on holding a vote -- to decide if a provincial referendum on self-rule should be held.

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