Press Releases

    SG/SM/9693
    IK/475
    31 January 2005

    Secretary-General Calls on People of Iraq to Exercise Their Democratic Rights in Sunday’s Election

    NEW YORK, 28 January (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement by Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the elections in Iraq was issued today:

    I have a message to the people of Iraq as the elections approach:  Elections are the best way to determine any country’s future; please exercise your democratic rights on Sunday.  Whatever your feelings about how the country reached this point, this election offers an opportunity to move away from violence and uncertainty toward peace and representative government.

    To those who seek to disrupt the democratic process, let me say that there can never be justification for murder and intimidation of voters, candidates and election workers.  Don’t deny Iraqis who choose to vote their right to do so in freedom and safety.

    These elections are the crucial first step toward a new constitution and a free and stable Iraq.  At this important juncture in Iraq’s political transition, I say to all Iraqis:  come together to rebuild your country on democratic foundations.  To achieve that, after these elections you will need a national dialogue and an inclusive political process in which as many Iraqis as possible play an active part.  The United Nations will do whatever it can to help you succeed on election day and afterwards.

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