1 February 2005
Secretary-General Praises Courage of Iraqi People on Election, Says Success Augers Well for Transition
NEW YORK, 31 January (UN Headquarters) -- Following is Secretary-General Kofi Annans statement on the Iraqi elections, issued in Abuja, Nigeria, on 30 January:
Reports indicate that, despite significant attempts at violent disruption, Iraqis have turned out in large numbers to exercise their right to vote. It will be some days before final results are known, but current indications are that the elections have been successfully carried out.
I wish to pay tribute to the courage of the Iraqi people, and to congratulate the Independent Election Commission of Iraq, as well as the thousands of Iraqi election workers and monitors, on having organized and carried out elections so effectively in such a limited time frame and such daunting circumstances.
And let me also congratulate my own colleagues in the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq who, with other international electoral experts, have worked so hard to support this election.
Security forces, both Iraqi and international, also made a notable contribution to ensuring a relatively safe and secure environment.
The success of the election augurs well for the transition process. The next phase will be one in which the Transitional National Assembly drafts a permanent constitution for Iraq, which is expected to be put to a referendum in October 2005.
It is important to ensure that all individuals, groups and parties who, for whatever reason, were unable or unwilling to take part in the election are now brought into the constitution-making process. This is a time for reconciliation on all sides. In this respect, I am encouraged by the recent statements of a number of Iraqi political leaders, indicating their willingness to play a part in this process or to allow others to do so. The United Nations stands ready to continue its electoral assistance, to facilitate vital outreach efforts, and, if invited, to assist the elected Transitional National Assembly in its work of drafting the constitution.
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