Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic

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Statement on the Forthcoming Iraqi Parliamentary Elections and on the Deployment of a Czech Republic Election Observation Mission

 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic welcomes the March 7 parliamentary elections in Iraq and hopes that the elections are free, fair, transparent, legitimate and inclusive. These are the third parliamentary elections taking place in Iraq in the post-Saddam era. We welcome that all Iraqis appear eager to participate. It is particularly important that the Iraqi Government that is formed on the basis of these elections reflects the will of all the Iraqi people.

The elections are taking place under challenging circumstances. Our primary concern is election-related violence. We hope that as many Iraqis as possible have the possibility to access polling stations and that they are not hampered from voting by security fears. The transparency of the election process is another important concern, especially in relation to the exclusion of candidates from standing in the elections.

On his official visit to the Republic of Iraq in November 2009, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Kohout pledged to support the Iraqi election process.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has duly sent out an eleven-member election observation team who will verify the voting mechanism. They are deployed in six Iraqi governorates – Baghdad, Erbil, Sulaymaniya, Kirkuk, Salah ad Din and Basra. This is one of the largest election observation teams deployed in the Republic of Iraq from any EU member state.

The mandate of the Czech observers is to observe the elections and to gather information, in order to form an unbiased verdict on the quality of the process.

When discussing the forthcoming elections, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Kohout stressed the importance of staying actively engaged in Iraq beyond the Election Day. Jan Kohout said: “Elections are only a part of the democratic process. The Czech Republic will continue stay involved and active in Iraq, be it through frequent diplomatic and political exchanges, bilateral visits or trade.”

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