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Election-related violence in Iraq, restraint urged

Following election-related violence in Iraq, UN envoy calls on all to show restraint

Voicing “serious concern” at reports of grave election-related violence in northern Iraq ahead of next week’s vote, the senior United Nations envoy in the war-torn country today called on all political leaders to ensure that their supporters and activists exhibit the necessary restraint during the campaign.

“A respect for the ability of others to express different views, to organize and to argue their case in a peaceful manner is a fundamental requirement for building a new united, democratic, stable and prosperous Iraq,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative Ashraf Qazi said in a statement.

Such an Iraq, can only be built on an “inclusive and win-win basis,” and not on, “a divisive and win-lose or zero sum bases,” he added, noting that the necessary restraint should extend to election speeches and slogans.

Mr. Qazi urged central and regional authorities to support the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI) in ensuring that the elections are conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner in which candidates and voters are able to participate without fear of discrimination, harassment, intimidation or violence.

He called on IECI to ensure that no actions are taken that could in any way negatively reflect on the credibility of the electoral process.

He referred specifically to violence in Dohuk and Erbil governorates yesterday and noted that election-related incidents had also occurred in other places including the Shrine of Imam Ali in Najaf al-Ashraf in the south.

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