NEW YORK: Iraqis from all walks of life should exercise restraint, avoid violence and patiently wait for final ratification of last month’s “hard-won” election results, senior UN official told the Security Council on Tuesday .
Jeanine Plasschaert, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, said there was a lot to be “proud” of Iraqis in the October 10 elections – the fifth national ballot held under Iraq’s 2005 constitution – which the UN hailed as generally peaceful and well-run.
His comments come as Iraq awaits final confirmation of the election result by the Federal Supreme Court.
Referring to the poll, Plasschaert said: “Overall, this was a substantial achievement, which the Iraqi authorities and parties would do well to acknowledge publicly.
She reminded the Security Council that the October elections followed an unprecedented wave of protests across Iraq in 2019, including “demonstrations marked by violence, excessive use of force, kidnappings and targeted assassinations ”.
The protests left hundreds dead and thousands injured, Plasschaert added.
Iraqis went to the polls to elect MPs amid calls by protesters to stop rampant corruption and improve living conditions.
After the elections, supporters of the Fatah Alliance – the coalition representing Iranian-backed militias that lost two-thirds of its seats – claimed the ballot was rigged and refused to accept the results, despite hundreds of international observers testifying to the integrity of the vote. to treat.
Describing the current Iraqi outlook as “precarious,” Plasschaert pointed to the clashes that erupted in the weeks following the vote and the sit-ins that escalated into violence and left several dead.
The UN official called the assassination attempt on Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi a direct attack on the Iraqi state, “a heinous act, and one which can only be condemned in the strongest terms” .
Speaking to the Security Council remotely from Baghdad, Plasschaert added: “Be clear, terrorism, violence or any other illegal act must in no way be allowed to derail Iraq’s democratic process. “
While acknowledging that emotions run high in any democratic election, she called for dialogue, calm and restraint to ease tensions, and warned that any illegal attempt to prolong or discredit the process of election results, through the violence, intimidation or pressure, “can only backfire. “
“The point is, citizens of democracies often have to recognize that while the results are not what they hoped for, the process itself might have been good. In fact, one of the clearest signs of a strengthening democracy is the ability of parties and voters to recognize results, regardless of their individual preferences for results.
While reiterating the absence of any evidence of systemic fraud, the UNAMI chief called for any electoral problem to be dealt with through legal channels.
“While losing seats can be hard to digest, it is important – for any party in any democracy – to examine the reasons and learn for future elections,” she said.
With the continuing risk of a political deadlock in Baghdad, Plasschaert stressed the importance of an inclusive government formation process.
“Iraq desperately needs a government that can tackle, quickly and effectively, the long list of unfinished home affairs. This is the primary responsibility of all political actors, ”she said.
US Permanent Representative to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield also said Iraqis should be proud of the election, which took place “in a world with far too much democratic hindsight.”
Thomas-Greenfield also credited the Security Council with the positive results of the Iraqi elections.
“This council spoke in unison, authorizing UNAMI to provide electoral technical assistance and election observers. This council came together and provided the resources the Iraqi government needed to meet the legitimate demands of its people. This council has helped to strengthen democratic institutions, ”she said.
The American envoy called for this “spirit of cooperation” to continue in all the issues on the Security Council’s agenda.