A Day After Vote, Iraqis Look Forward to Democratic Future

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On Sunday, the voters made history. On Monday, Iraq's new history began.

"We're happy. We're excited. This is a big day for all of us Iraqis," Sora Almansuri said.

Thousands of Iraqis, casting their ballots from the Windy City to the Middle East, chose the representatives who will craft Iraq's constitution. Hard work remains, but it's work Iraqis hope their country will manage without a sustained American presence.

"It's not going to take like forever, but it has to be one day, they will leave Iraq. We appreciate what (the American troops) did," Samir Al-Jurehi said.

Election judges will spend the next week tallying the results. Iraq's new national assembly will spend the rest of 2005 formulating plans for a permanent government, which will go up for a vote next year. Stateline Iraqis say the transition to democracy is a transition to stability.

"More responsibility over there, more we get safe, more American get safe, more anybody over there get safe, more anyone over there in Iraqi working get safe," Khadhim Al-Inezi said.

Other Iraqis say regardless of which party holds power in the future, the nation's focus must now be peace, not petty politics.

"I hope everything is safe, and Iraqi people live in peace, they're saving Iraq and there's peace. (American troops) don't have to stay there, they should come to their family over here in their country," Hassan Al-Taeey said.

A nation ready to tackle its future questions, with the answers in the ballot boxes.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice says there is no timetable on when the 150,000 American troops will leave Iraq. She says the return will depend on how quickly the new Iraqi force will be trained and equipped.