Iraq's national elections another democratic milestone
Iraq's parliamentary elections will be "another important milestone in the country's political development," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Friday, urging Iraqi voters to turn out in force on Sunday.
"A strong voter mandate will be a powerful message in support of stability and prosperity for all Iraqis and will build on the political progress that has already been achieved," Ban said in a message welcoming Iraq's national elections, dpa reported.
The UN said that approximately 18.9 million Iraqis have registered to vote, with 6,529 candidates competing for 275 seats on the Council of Representatives.
Ban called for peaceful elections, which he said would foster national reconciliation in Iraq.
He urged Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission to make all efforts to ensure "credible elections conducted in an atmosphere free of violence, harassment and intimidation." The commission is supported by the UN mission in Iraq in the electoral process.