20 March 2013 – The top United Nations official in Iraq today said he was deeply concerned about the postponement of governorate council elections in the western province of Anbar and the northern province of Ninewa.
“There is no democracy without elections,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Martin Kobler.
“The citizens of these provinces are looking forward to these elections with great hope. They should not be disappointed,” he added in a press release.
Preparations are under way for the holding of the governorate council elections in all 14 provinces on 20 April. According to media reports, the Iraqi cabinet decided to postpone the polls in Anbar and Ninewa, for a maximum period of six months, due to security concerns.
Mr. Kobler, who is also the head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), noted that the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) is continuing the technical preparations for the polls in all the provinces.
“The United Nations calls upon the government and IHEC to ensure elections can take place as scheduled in a peaceful and secure environment,” Mr. Kobler said.
In a recent report, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commended the new Board of Commissioners of the IHEC for its professional and timely preparations for the 20 April polls, and encouraged all stakeholders to ensure that the elections be held “in accordance with the current timeline, in a peaceful and orderly manner and free from violence.”