CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Only Threat to Hussein's Leadership Comes from U.S., Allies, Not Iraqi Voters
Aired October 14, 2002 - 12:03 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: More than obvious that the only real threat to Saddam Hussein's leadership comes from the United States and some of its allies, not from Iraqi voters. To the contrary, Iraq's information minister maintains the external threat -- quote -- "gives the referendum a new meaning."
Let's check in with CNN's Nic Robertson. He's in the Iraqi capital. give us the latest.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, as you say, it is not a choice between politicians here, it is a simple yes/no vote for the people of Iraq, do they support President Saddam Hussein for another term as the Iraqi leader? It is being cast on the posters that have been put up on the city as an obligation for people, a chance to go out and show their support, pledge allegiance for the country at this time.
There will be about 11.5 million voters. The polling stations open here in a little over 13 hours. They will be open for 12 hours. There are over 1,000 polling stations across the country, but the people we've been talking to, as you have already said, all of them say they will support President Saddam Hussein.
Many of them also telling us that really they feel their vote for the president of Iraq at this time is a vote that shows Iraq's solidarity against the United States. Many people are seeing this as key timing, this referendum as key timing, very important for President Saddam Hussein to send a message to the rest of the world, that he feels secure that his country is solidly behind him.
He's been meeting, President Saddam Hussein, has also been meeting with some influential figures in Arab world. He met today a little earlier with the former Algerian president, Ahkmed Banbellum (ph). When met with him, they had discussions for some time. It was interesting, because President Saddam Hussein led the former Algerian president back to his car afterwards, showing great deference for this formerly very influential figure in the region. Also, very noticeable there, the statement that came following that meet from Saddam Hussein, saying that the administration, all of the people running Iraq, do not want to see trouble in the country that they say would have negative effects.
BLITZER: Nic Robertson in Baghdad, thanks for that report.
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Allies, Not Iraqi Voters>