The top United Nations official in Iraq today condemned the latest incident in a series of election-related violence in the northern city of Mosul, in which a political candidate was murdered ahead of the provincial polls scheduled for later this month.
Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Iraq, said the killing of Mowaffaq al-Hamdani, a candidate on the “Iraq for Us” list in Mosul who was reportedly shot dead in a café on Wednesday, represents “the worst kind of election violence” and should not be tolerated.
In a news release issued by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), which Mr. de Mistura heads, he noted there has been other election-related violence in Mosul in the past 10 days, including raids and attacks against candidates of the Hadba party.
“Campaign violence in Iraq must not be allowed to intimidate candidates or interfere with the right of every Iraqi to exercise their vote on 31 January,” the Special Representative said, noting the date set for the provincial elections.
The UN is assisting Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), which is responsible for preparing and conducting elections – beginning with the provincial polls slated for 31 January and culminating with parliamentary elections in 2009-2010.