UNSC welcomes Iraq’s democratic elections

February 4th, 2009 - 4:10 am ICT by IANS  

New York, Feb 4 (DPA) The UN Security Council has praised the successful holding of provisional elections in Iraq, which UN officials said was professionally organised and took place without violence.The 15-nation council discussed the elections that took place over the weekend and issued a statement Tuesday congratulating both the Iraqi people and the government. Tens of thousands of monitors, both local and international, were deployed to witness the democratic process.

“The members of the Security Council commend and congratulate the people of Iraq for demonstrating their commitment to a peaceful and democratic political process,” the council said.

It expressed appreciation to Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission, which was scheduled to make public and certify the outcome of the elections this week.

Staffan de Mistura, the UN special representative in Iraq, said the UN was satisfied that the elections took place without violence and a 51-percent turnout proved that democracy was working in the once war-torn nation. This year marked the sixth anniversary of the US military invasion that toppled the government of president Saddam Hussein.

“We are satisfied with the elections even though we were looking for a larger turnout,” de Mistura said from the UN office in Baghdad in a teleconference with reporters at UN headquarters in New York.

He said the turnout was considered average for provincial elections in many countries.

A total of 7.4 million people - or 51 percent - of the 14.7 million eligible Iraqi voters cast ballots at thousands of polling stations manned by Iraqi security forces. De Mistura said the US-led multinational forces in Iraq were not directly involved in providing security and stayed mostly in the outer rings of voting places.

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