Baghdad, Iraq (BBN)– The United Nations top envoy in Iraq has underlined the central role played by the country’s electoral commission in enhancing the democratic process and praised members of the current body for laying the foundation that ensures that voters can exercise their franchise fairly.
“There cannot be democracy without elections, and since its establishment in 2007, IHEC [Independent High Electoral Commission] has been fulfilling its constitutional mandate to plan, administer and conduct elections,” said Martin Kobler, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), on Monday.
“Your efforts have created a solid foundation for your successors to ensure the rights of Iraqi voters to choose their leaders and policies in a fair, legal process,” he said when in met with the IHEC Board of Commissioners in Baghdad, according to a UN press statement.
Mr. Kobler encouraged Iraq’s Council of Representatives to select a new IHEC Board of Commissioners, in accordance with the electoral law, before the expiration of the current board’s term in April.
He praised the professionalism of the IHEC staff in Baghdad and electoral offices in the country’s governorates, commending them for their sacrifices, including those killed or injured while serving the cause of democracy in Iraq.
The Kurdistan Region governorate council elections, scheduled to take place on 27 September, are the next polls in Iraq. They will be followed by governorate council elections nationwide early next year.
Since 2004, the UN has supported seven major electoral events in Iraq.
“We are currently working with IHEC on the Kurdistan Region governorate elections and will continue to provide technical advice to our IHEC counterparts. Our objective is to contribute to further strengthening and consolidating a professional and sustainable electoral administration in Iraq,” Mr. Kobler added.
BBN/SSR/AD-28Feb12-1:30 pm (BST)