Minister Ahern pledges support for Iraqi elections.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dermot Ahern T.D., today pledged Ireland's support for the elections being held in Iraq on Sunday, 30 January.
“The holding of elections for a Transitional National Assembly is the next critical step in the process for the political reconstruction of Iraq laid down in UN Security Council Resolution 1546. The Assembly will negotiate a new Iraqi Constitution, and will elect a new Transitional Iraqi Government. Whatever differences there may have been regarding the invasion of Iraq, everybody who believes in democracy must wish to see the Iraqi people take control of their own destiny through the ballot box.
I am very concerned that the continuing violence may make it very difficult for people to vote in some areas of Iraq, although all reports and polls indicate that the majority of Iraqis would wish to take part in the elections, if they could. It is clear that insurgent attacks are being targeted increasingly at Iraqi security forces and election officials, in an attempt to prevent elections taking place, and at ordinary Iraqi citizens, to try and provoke civil strife. This is something to which no-one who believes in democracy can remain indifferent.
I commend all those Iraqis – election officials, police and ordinary voters – who refuse to bow to this intimidation, and exercise their right to elect representatives of their choice.
The Government hopes that the elections in Iraq are able to proceed in as peaceful an atmosphere as possible, and that Iraqis take this opportunity to come out and vote in these elections which are crucial to the future of their country. These elections should mark an important step towards the establishment of democracy and the rule of law in Iraq. Hopefully, the day will not be long delayed when elections in Iraq take place in a peaceful atmosphere, with the full and unhindered participation of all citizens and all political parties, representing all communities.”