Sunday, January 18, 2009

Iraq: Campaign violence 'unacceptable,'

Staffan de Mistura, the top United Nations envoy in Iraq, today strongly condemned the second killing in two weeks of a candidate for the provincial elections slated to be held at the end of this month, stressing that any campaign violence is “utterly unacceptable.”

Haytham al-Husseini, a candidate for the Dawlat al-Qanoon (State of Law) list was killed yesterday in an armed attack northeast of the city of Hilla in Babel province. Four of his companions were wounded in the attack, which comes ahead of the 31 January polls.

The incident also comes just two weeks after Mowaffaq al-Hamdani, a candidate on the “Iraq for Us” list was shot dead in a cafĂ© in the northern city of Mosul.

“The contest must proceed peacefully. It is utterly unacceptable that political rivalry in the run-up to the elections should be expressed through violence, intimidations, harassment and threats,” said Mr. de Mistura, who is the Secretary-General's Special Representative and the head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

Following the attack on Mr. al-Hamdani, the Special Representative had stressed that campaign violence must not be allowed to intimidate candidates or interfere with the right of every Iraqi to exercise their vote on 31 January.

The UN is assisting Iraq''s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), which is responsible for preparing and conducting elections – beginning with the provincial polls at the end of this month and culminating with parliamentary elections in 2009-2010.

Source: UN News Centre
Published by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Consulting
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