The route to recovery and stability “appears to be genuinely routed in the wish of the overwhelming majority of the Iraqi people that reason prevails over confrontation and violence,” Ad Melkert, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, told reporters in New York via video link.“I congratulate the more than 12 million Iraqis who went to the polls, which is a turnout percentage of 62.3 ¬– higher than many had expected,” added Mr. Melkert, who also heads the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).Mr. Melkert urged all candidates and parties to unite in accepting the results, setting an example for a culture of democracy which he said would require the commitment of all concerned beyond the election. “We also have called on all those newly elected … [to] form the new Government, so political, economic and social progress is not delayed,” he said. “At the same time, we must understand that in a system with minority parties some time will be needed to form a majority coalition.” Election workers in 50,000 polling stations across the country have begun tallying the vote to elect Iraq’s Council of Representatives, the country’s parliament.Reports of more than 100 violent incidents during the election campaign led to concerns that voters would be deterred from casting ballots.Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also told reporters today at UN Headquarters in New York that he applauded “all those Iraqis who exercised their constitutional right to vote despite the very serious and difficult challenging security situation.”In addition, members of the Security Council welcomed the holding of the elections and congratulated Iraqis for “demonstrating their continued commitment to a peaceful, inclusive and democratic political process.”In a press statement, the 15-member panel described the polls as “another important step in the political process aimed at strengthening Iraq’s national unity, sovereignty and independence.”Voters in the northern city of Kirkuk expressed optimism tempered with a desire to see elected politicians deliver results. One male voter said that he hoped the country would be freed of bombs and explosions. Official preliminary results for the election will be announced in a few days’ time by Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC). The UN has an advisory role with the Commission and helps train election officials. “We really hope and to an extent anticipate that this will be a firm basis for the next stage of Iraq’s recovery, reconstruction, growth, stability,” Mr. Melkert stressed at a press conference a few hours after polls closed on Sunday. “It will not come overnight, but to have an election day like this is a very solid basis.” 8 March 2010The top United Nations envoy to Iraq today praised millions of Iraqis who voted in Sunday’s parliamentary elections in a call for political candidates and groups to respect the democratic process as counting got under way around the country.
Applauding election turnout UN envoy to Iraq calls for unity