Emphasizing that Iraqis who have complaints about their recent elections should get a hearing, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed the decision by the International Mission for Iraqi Elections (IMIE) to establish a team of experts to examine the issue.
The team, which will include two representatives from the League of Arab States, is set to assess developments since 15 December, when parliamentary elections were held and its interim report was issued.
In welcoming the IMIE move, the Secretary-General also voiced strong support for ongoing efforts by the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI) to investigate and audit all complaints received before certifying the results of those elections.
In a statement released by his spokesman, Mr. Annan said the UN has encouraged the IECI to invite additional international observers to support this process. “It is critical that those Iraqi groups who have complained about the conduct of the election are given a hearing,” he said. “This team of assessors, which was not involved in the conduct of the elections, offers an independent evaluation of these complaints.”
Noting that the IECI has welcomed the IMIE’s decision, the Secretary-General voiced hope that these efforts will foster a successful completion to the certification process.
Meanwhile in Baghdad, Mr. Annan’s envoy Ashraf Jehangir Qazi welcomed IECI’s invitation for additional international observers to assess the recent elections.
In statement released by his office today, Mr. Qazi expressed the hope that all political parties would accept the final certified results and work together towards building a prosperous and united Iraq.
Final results will be announced after all the serious complaints have been investigated and decided upon, according to the statement.
“It is important that the convening of the elected Council of Representatives is not unduly delayed and that an inclusive process of government formation to commences as soon as possible,” the statement concluded.
Immediately after the elections, Mr. Qazi, Mr. Annan and the Security Council commended the Iraqi people for their active nationwide participation and congratulated the IECI for the conduct of the poll, pledging the UN’s continued support on the path to peace and democracy in the strife-torn country.