The United Nations today commended the Iraqi people for their active nationwide participation in yesterday’s elections, congratulated the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI) for the conduct of the poll, and pledged its continued support on the path to peace and democracy in the strife-torn country.
“The participation by all communities in this historic election is another milestone in Iraq’s progress towards a democratic future and lays the foundation for national reconciliation,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a statement issued by his spokesman in New York.
“Whatever the results of the election, there is now an opportunity for a political process that offers all Iraqis the chance to play a part in building a peaceful, democratic, unified and prosperous Iraq. The United Nations will stand with them in this endeavour.”
Paying tribute to the courage of the Iraqi people and welcoming the healthy voter turnout and relatively calm atmosphere of election-day, Mr. Annan said he very pleased that the UN electoral team in Baghdad was able to make a contribution to the process. “I am proud of the role they have played in supporting the Iraqis,” he added.
The Security Council issued a press statement welcoming the election as a “key step in the political process” and lauding the fact that political parties representing all of Iraq’s communities participated in the election, which reportedly saw a high turnout.
Council members “commended the courage of the millions of Iraqis who, braving difficult conditions and the threat of violence, again demonstrated their commitment to a peaceful, democratic political process and their willingness to decide their political future through peaceful means,” said Emyr Jones Parry, the Ambassador of the United Kingdom, which currently holds the Council’s rotating presidency.
He also praised Iraqi election workers, the IECI and the UN Assistance Mission in Iraqi (UNAMI) as well as others who made the elections possible.
The statement reaffirmed the Council’s support for a “federal, democratic, pluralistic and unified Iraq, in which there is full respect for human rights” and called on the international community to continue and augment assistance to the country.
Mr. Annan's Special Representative in Iraq, Ashraf Qazi, also congratulated both the people and the electoral commission.
“Anecdotal evidence shows that there has been a good turnout, that it was inclusive and that security was well maintained,” he said, noting that the IECI maintained the high international standards deemed essential for the conduct of fair, free and transparent election.
“These are all good measures of success,” he added in a statement.
Mr. Qazi acknowledged that complaints have been registered with the IECI and that investigations have started in a number of incidents. He said that while preliminary results may be available in the next few days, the final results would not be issued until the IECI had completed its investigations.