UN welcomes setting date for early elections in Iraq

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) welcomed Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s announcement of setting June 6, 2021, a date for early elections.

“Early elections fulfill a key popular demand on the road to greater stability and democracy in Iraq,” the UNAMI said in a statement on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported.

It said that the United Nations is ready to provide support and technical advice as requested by Iraq to ensure “free, fair, and credible elections that win the public’s trust.”

“Properly conducted credible, free, fair and inclusive elections can re-energize the political system and build public confidence, giving the people a voice and realizing their aspirations for better representation,” the statement quoted the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert as saying.

“It is the responsibility of the government, parliament, political parties, and other stakeholders to jointly ensure free, fair and credible elections in a conducive environment that places the interests of the country above all other considerations,” said Hennis-Plasschaert, who is also UNAMI chief.

Hennis-Plasschaert also said that she is confident that all political parties wish to see a prosperous Iraq free from crises.

Earlier in the evening, al-Kadhimi said in a televised speech that he set June 6, 2021, as a date for the early elections, which is part of his government’s political program.

The elections date also needs the approval of the parliament according to the Iraqi law.

Late last year, the Iraqi parliament passed most of the elections draft, but differences remained on a few articles due to political row among the political blocs.

On May 6, al-Kadhimi was sworn in as the new prime minister in Iraq, following the approval of the parliament on most of his cabinet members.