Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today congratulated the people of Iraq on their participation in the country’s Governorate Council elections, adding that by exercising their constitutional right to vote, the Iraqi people had “reaffirmed their desire” for democracy.
In a statement released by his spokesperson’s office, Mr. Ban applauded the “courage and determination” of the Iraqi electorate “which thwarted attempts to disrupt the electoral process through a vicious campaign of assassinations of candidates, threats to electoral staff and terrorist attacks” in the period preceding the vote.
According to official estimates, at least 15.5 million Iraqis were eligible to vote in the 20 April polls where more than 8,000 candidates were reportedly vying for 378 seats on provincial councils, the elected bodies responsible for nominating governors who take charge of the provinces’ administration, finances and reconstruction projects.
The months leading up to the vote were marred by episodic violence and targeted bombings stirring some concerns that security surrounding the elections would be affected. As a result, the Iraqi cabinet decided to postpone the polls in Anbar and Ninewa, for a maximum period of six months, due to security concerns, the media reported.
The Secretary-General called for actions to enable the organization of elections in the remaining Governorates “without delay,” while also commending the country’s Independent High Electoral Commission for organizing the elections in “a professional manner.”
In addition, he urged patience for all political stakeholders awaiting the final results of the poll and encouraged them “to continue cooperating with al Iraqi electoral institutions throughout the rest of the electoral process.”