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      290,000 Israelis Eligible to Vote in Iraqi Elections

      Jews around the world who were born in Iraq are eligible to vote in the Iraqi elections taking place this week.
      By Ezra HaLevi
      First Publish: 12/12/2005, 1:30 PM / Last Update: 12/12/2005, 2:39 PM

      According to Hamida Al-Husseini, who is in charge of absentee ballots in the coming elections, even Iraqi Jews holding Israeli citizenship can vote. "How can we know what additional citizenships a voter holds?" Al-Husseini told the Maariv Daily. "We only check the documents confirming that the voter in question holds Iraqi citizenship."

      Anybody holding Iraqi citizenship, whether he/she was born in Iraq, or was born to an Iraqi father, is eligible to vote, according to Iraqi law. An estimated 290,000 Israelis are therefore eligible to vote. In order to exercise that right, however, one must report to the nearest polling station – which in the case of Israelis is in Jordan.

      Following the ratification of the constitution of Iraq on October 15, 2005, a general election was set for December 15th in order to elect a permanent 275-member Iraqi National Assembly.

      During the January election of the transitional Assembly, about 20 Israelis actually voted. Those elections were facilitated by the United Nations, however. It is likely that the coming elections, being organized by the Iraqi interim government, will have in place measures to prevent the participation of Israeli Jews.