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Iraq: UN Welcomes Launch Of 500+ Voter Centres

Iraq: United Nations welcomes successful launch of over 500 voter registration update centres

15 July 2008 - The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) congratulated the Independent High Election Commission (IHEC) for today's successful opening of 563 voter registration update locations across the war-torn nation.

"The centres provide an opportunity for all Iraqis to verify and update their details so that they are registered to vote in elections," the mission said in a press released issued in Baghdad, commending the IHEC, a nine-member independent electoral authority.

UNAMI noted that all internally displaced persons (IDPs) and Iraqis are encouraged to take part in the polls by visiting their local centre.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), political parties and members of civil society have been registered as observers for the voter registration update, as the mission "believes this is the best way to ensure transparency and credibility in this important democratic process."

In a related development, Staffan de Mistura, who heads UNAMI, has wrapped up a five-day visit to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), during which he held talks on the Disputed Internal Boundaries in Iraq.

Mr. de Mistura, who also serves as the Secretary-General's Special Representative, characterized his trip as "successful," stressing that UNAMI will continue to confer with the Iraqi Government and others both before and after the UN concludes its analysis of districts, including options for Kirkuk's future.

Last month, UNAMI presented its first analysis to the Government regarding potential processes to resolve disputes over internal boundaries.

"I want to stress that the Government of Iraq alone has the sovereign responsibility to decide on the process and methodology used to address disputed internal boundaries," Mr. de Mistura said.

ENDS

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