Shafaq News/ Special Representative for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, urged Iraqis to participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections that differ from the 2018's.
"I want to repeat the words of the religious authority, Ali al-Sistani, which is to encourage voters to participate in the elections, " Hennis-Plasschaert said in a press conference held today at the Rashid Hotel in central Baghdad.
She added, "the United Nations communicated with the Iraqis, and we exchanged views on voting, fears of fraud and the role of external interference," noting that "Iraqis stressed the need to participate in the elections to address challenges, the most important of which is economic reform."
She said, "The United Nations is not unaware of the concerns, and we talked in the UN's Security Council about the challenge," adding, "the United Nations is a partner for all Iraqis for the success of the elections on October that there is a need to be different from the previous one."
The Head of UNAMI continued, "the elections are a path leads to a more stable Iraq, and Iraqis must emphasize the need to vote…the elections represent the stability for Iraq, as they lead to a formation of the government and serious reform."
It is noteworthy that Iraq's cabinet decided to postpone the general election to October 10 from June.
Early elections were a key demand of anti-government protesters who staged mass demonstrations that started in October 2019.
Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said the decision to set a new date to hold an early contest was made to give IHEC enough time to prepare to have fair and transparent elections fully.
130 international observers would participate in all the Iraqi governorates.
In turn, Iraq's top Shiite authority, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, urged the citizens to participate in the early parliamentary elections scheduled less than two weeks from today, Wednesday, stressing that he does not endorse any candidate.
Al-Sistani's comments came in a statement issued by his office in response to a torrent of questions regarding his position from the elections.
"The Supreme religious authority encourages the conscious and responsible participation in the upcoming elections. Despite some defaults, it remains the safest way to a future that is hopefully better than the past. With it, the risk of falling into the crevasses of chaos and political impasse is evaded."
Al-Sistani called on the voters to learn from the past lessons and "avail the opportunity to elicit a real change in the country's administration and keep away the corrupt and incompetent hands from its main joints; which is possible if the conscious people join hands, effectively participate in the polls, and choose well. Otherwise, the previous parliamentary councils' failures and the subsequent governments will be replicated."
"The Supreme religious authority reiterates what it stated ahead of the previous elections that it does not support any candidate or list. The decision is the voters' solely and what the opine. However, it emphasizes the need to scrutinize the chronicles of the candidates in their constituents and refrain from voting but for the virtuous and just [candidate], who upholds Iraq's sovereignty, security, and prosperity, and entrusted to its inherent values and supreme interests."
Al-Sistani called the organizers of the elections to "work upon holding it in an assuring environment, away from the impact of money, arms, foreign intervention; respect its integrity and protect the ballots of the voters."