UN commends Iraq for successful conduct of delayed local polls

Last Updated: Fri, Jun 21, 2013 14:20 hrs

The United Nations envoy in Iraq Thursday congratulated the men and women of the Anbar and Ninewa governorates on casting their votes on local elections that were delayed two months ago over mounting concerns about security.

"The people of Anbar and Ninewa overcame threats to cast their vote Thursday, and violence failed to disrupt the democratic process," said the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Iraq, Martin Kobler.

Most Iraqi governorates held their local elections two months ago. However, voting was delayed by officials in Anbar and Ninewa because of security concerns.

The past couple of months have been some of the deadliest on record for Iraq, with a series of bombings killing hundreds and injuring many more across the country. Candidates have been regularly targeted, and on Wednesday a suicide bomber reportedly blew himself up as he embraced a political leader in northern Iraq, killing the candidate and four of his relatives.

In addition, a roadside bomb targeted a bus carrying five officials from the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) in the town of Baiji in Ninewa Thursday, killing one of them.

"Despite the best efforts of the security forces, it is very sad that lives were also lost in this process," Kobler said. "Several candidates were targeted in the lead-up to Thursday's vote, while an IHEC staff member was tragically killed in an attack on a bus Thursday and several IHEC colleagues were wounded."

Delegations from the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) visited a number of polling centres, and Kobler commended the professionalism and commitment of the IHEC in carrying out the elections. He also welcomed the efforts of Iraqi Security Forces under the command of the High Electoral Security Committee in assuring safe conditions for voting.

Kobler extended his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wished a speedy recovery to the wounded.

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