UN electoral team leaves Iraq, returning to New York to brief Annan

16 April 2004
Carina Perelli

A United Nations team studying the holding of elections in Iraq has left the country and is expected to return to New York in the coming days to brief Secretary-General Kofi Annan on its work, a UN spokesperson said today.

A United Nations team studying the holding of elections in Iraq has left the country and is expected to return to New York in the coming days to brief Secretary-General Kofi Annan on its work, a UN spokesperson said today.

The head of team, Carina Perelli, Director of the UN Electoral Assistance Division, told a press conference yesterday in Baghdad that the UN was concerned that the security situation in the country should stabilize for elections to be held.

However, "in any post-conflict situation, the country has never stabilized so much when elections occur that violence is totally absent," she said, noting that elections have been held even in places that have a relatively stabilized semi-violent environment, such as in Colombia.

Ms. Perelli also mentioned plans for an independent electoral commission, comprised of Iraqis, and stressed the UN's role will be to provide technical assistance to strengthen that body and to support the electoral process.

"Before coming here, we were very clear that the Iraqi elections need to be conducted by Iraqis and by Iraqi institutions," she said. "They should not be organized or conducted by the United Nations. But the United Nations is ready to provide a very strong technical assistance and very strong support to the Iraqi authorities that are going to be put in place."

Nationwide elections in Iraq are scheduled to be held by the end of January 2005. Last month the UN was invited to send in a team to study the technical requirements needed to hold such balloting.

 

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