Polarization shown by Iraqi referendum results poses challenge says UN envoy

Polarization shown by Iraqi referendum results poses challenge says UN envoy

In a statement on the results, which showed a majority approving the text, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative Ashraf Qazi pledged the continued readiness of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) and its electoral assistance team to help in the general elections scheduled for 15 December.”The results of the referendum have indicated the degree of political polarization in Iraq,” Mr. Qazi said. “This poses an ongoing challenge for all Iraqis and underscores the importance of an inclusive national dialogue.”Accordingly, it is essential that all of Iraq’s communities fully participate in the December elections to ensure their full representation in the Government, the Council of Representatives and the Constitutional Review Commission which will be established for the express purpose of further broadening the national base of support for the fundamental law of the land, i.e. the Constitution,” he added.In a statement issued by his spokesman in New York, Mr. Annan commended the Iraqi people for “this historic event” and hoped it would mark a milestone on Iraq’s path to democracy.”The high levels of voter turnout throughout the country and amongst all the main political constituencies are particularly encouraging,” he said. “That so many voters turned out to vote despite the threats against them is a welcome sign of their desire to choose ballots rather than bullets to express their political views.”He called on all Iraqis to participate with the same commitment in the upcoming election campaign.”The Secretary-General hopes that the adoption of Iraq’s constitution will encourage all Iraqis to reach out to one another in a spirit of national reconciliation through a fully inclusive political process to build a democratic and united Iraq,” the statement said. “The United Nations will continue to make every effort to support the efforts of the Iraqi people and Government to that end.”

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