This is a partial transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume," Jan. 12, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AYAD ALLAWI, INTERIM PRIME MINISTER, IRAQ (through translator): Hostile forces are trying to hamper this event, and to inflict damage and harm on the march, and the guarantee for the participation of all in the elections. Certainly there will be some pockets that won't be able to participate in the elections for these reasons. But we think that it will not be widespread.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRIT HUME, HOST: That of course, Iraqi interim prime minister Ayad Allawi (search).
Bret Baier noted earlier, U.S. and military forces beefing up in the troubled hot spots there, trying to make it as safe, or at least safer for Iraqis to vote on January 30.
What are some of the other arrangements under way? Well, they’ve been talking about that issue at the White House today.
Our senior White House correspondent, Jim Angle joins us now live with some thoughts about that.
First of all, Jim, let me ask you. What do officials say down there on this question of delay, which even The New York Times (search), I guess is urging Wednesday, that that would make things better. What’s the response there to that?
JIM ANGLE, FOX NEWS SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Officials in the administration, Brit, say absolutely not. No delay, they will brook no discussion of delay. And they say, what would happen if you changed the date? If the insurgents want to target the election, they will try to make security as difficult as possible on any other date you pick. There’s no guarantee if you shifted the date, security would be any better.
HUME: Now the talk, of course, is whether the Sunnis (search), who are minority of Iraqis, and whose areas of intense — where they live in concentrations, have been the areas where all the trouble is. The fabled Sunni Triangle, of course.
What are officials saying about making it possible for Sunnis who like to participate, to be physically able to do that without being intimidated, or possibly risking their life and limb?
ANGLE: Well, there are two or three things that will help Sunnis and help avoid the prospect of them being underrepresented or not being able to vote.
In two of the key provinces where the dangers are high, in Anbar and Nineveh, what they’ll do is allow people to vote anywhere in that province. So if there is a car bomb in your neighborhood, at your polling place, if there’s intimidation, you can go to some other town. Go some other place to cast your vote. Now if you live in Fallujah (search), you can vote anywhere in that province, or even in Baghdad. So they’re giving people options here to avoid having to go to one single place that might be targeted by the insurgents.
The other thing is Brit, there are 111 entities here, some are political parties, some are coalitions of political parties. Some are just a few candidates or a handful of candidates. In each and many of those cases, you have a multiethnic group there.
For instance, Ayad Allawi, who you just saw a moment ago, has a slate of candidates. Each of these entities have a slate of candidates, and many of them are multi-ethnic in the sense that they would have both Shiia and Sunni.
So if you were to vote for Allawi, for instance, you would get not just Allawi but people on his slate who would also be Sunni. That means that even if you vote — and these are national. This is a national election, you’re not voting for just in your province.
So even if you voted for someone who is not necessarily a Sunni, there may be Sunni representation on that slate of candidates for the National Assembly, giving them their best chance of representation, and demonstrably increasing, officials say, their chance of representation in the National Assembly itself.
HUME: This means so even if you had very limited participation in heavily Sunni areas, you’re still going to wind up with some Sunnis in the government. Is that the idea?
ANGLE: That’s exactly right. You have Sunnis on slates for other candidates.
And the other problem here, or the other advantage here, too, Brit, is that officials say a lot of Iraqis do not identify by their religion. They identify by tribe. And some of these large tribes are both Shiia and Sunni. So there are all sorts of ways that Sunni candidates will be included in the election.
Now, you’ll have the election on January 30, they should have some results by February 15. They hope to have a new government by March 1. That would — you would then have a National Assembly, would start working on a new constitution that would be ratified in October. After that, you would have new elections in December based on a new constitution. So you have a yearlong process of democratic institution building and elections, an entirely fresh experience for the Iraqis.
HUME: Now, there are all kinds of Iraqis fled country years ago during Saddam’s regime. They’re scattered to the four winds across the earth. What chance if any do they have to participate in these elections?
ANGLE: Fourteen countries will allow Iraqis living abroad to vote in the U.S. They are thought to be more than 200,000. They’ll be able to vote in five U.S. cities, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, Detroit and Nashville (search). And they will be able to vote here, as they will in 13 other countries. Those votes will be counted in Iraq.
HUME: All right, Jim. Thanks very much.
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