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Iraq official says referendum turnout topped 60%

[JURIST] An official of Iraq's Independent Electoral Commission [official website] said late Saturday that turnout in the country's referendum on the draft Iraqi constitution [JURIST news archive] was "no less than 61%", and that more than 66% of voters cast ballots in 7 of Iraq's 18 provinces, including three Sunni-dominated provinces deemed critical to the outcome of the poll. From Baghdad, the Iraq the Model weblog reports general turnouts by province as reported by election officials in the latest press conference. The Sunni turnout was much larger than in parliamentary elections in January which many Sunnis boycotted. A large number of Sunnis hope they can defeat the charter, which according to referendum rules will fail if two-thirds of the voters in three provinces reject it. The referendum ballots are now being brought to Baghdad where some are already being counted [ITM weblog post] by a team of about 250 election workers, with results expected in a few days. Meanwhile, election officials also reported Saturday that ten referendum workers had been kidnapped [Aljazeera report] in Sunni-dominated Anbar province, where turnout was relatively low and 60 voting stations of a total of 207 failed to open due to security concerns. AP has more.

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