19 December 2005
Secretary-General, Paying Tribute to Courage of Iraqis, Welcomes "Healthy" Voter Turnout in Historic 15 December Election
NEW YORK, 16 December (UN Headquarters) -- Following is a statement by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Iraqi elections for the Council of Representatives:
Yesterday's elections were the third time this year that the people of Iraq have braved difficult conditions and the threat of violence to exercise their right to vote. I pay tribute to their courage and I welcome the healthy voter turnout and the relatively calm atmosphere that surrounded election day.
I also offer my congratulations to the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq for having organized and carried out the election in such challenging circumstances. I am very pleased that my UN electoral team in Baghdad was able to make a contribution to the electoral process and I am proud of the role they have played in supporting the Iraqis.
The participation by all communities in this historic election is another milestone in Iraq's progress towards a democratic future and lays the foundation for national reconciliation. Whatever the results of the election, there is now an opportunity for a political process that offers all Iraqis the chance to play a part in building a peaceful, democratic, unified and prosperous Iraq. The United Nations will stand with them in this endeavour.
* *** *