President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today sent their congratulations to the people of Iraq on holding parliamentary elections, for only the second time since the U.S. invasion in 2003.
Commending the people of Iraq for their refusal to be deterred by acts of violence, Mr. Obama said, “Their participation demonstrates that the Iraqi people have chosen to shape their future through the political process.”
Nearly 50,000 voting booths at more than 8,000 polling stations across Iraq were readied for use of the ballot box, and more than 500,000 Iraqi security personnel were involved in the operation.
Yet the election was marred by multiple attacks, with at least 35 people being killed, according to reports. Mr. Obama said, “We mourn the tragic loss of life today”.
He also noted that Iraqi citizens in the United States participated in the elections, “including Iraqis… who voted in Arlington (Viginia), Chicago, Dallas, Dearborn, Nashville, Phoenix, San Diego, and San Francisco”.
Noting the important work of Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission, Mr. Obama said, it would continue in the days to come as it counted ballots, tabulated results and investigated complaints. “We also salute the invaluable assistance provided by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq”, he added.
Secretary Clinton additionally commended U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill, General Raymond Odierno and other U.S. civilian and military personnel who supported this historic effort.
Reaffirming the U.S.’s commitment to work with the new leadership in Iraq, she said, “In the coming months, we will work together with Iraqi leaders as our partnership continues its transition to a primarily civilian focus, with the goal of building a long-term, multidimensional relationship between our two nations”.
This was a relationship that would contribute to stability in the Middle East and growing peace and prosperity in Iraq, she argued.