UN' Plasschaert: Elections could led to a new progress Iraq


Shafaq News / The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, said that the upcoming early elections in Iraq are "very important," she also pointed out that conducting them properly could led to a new period of progress in the country.

This came in an interview to Shafaq News Agency, with the UN Special Representative,

Interview transcript


ü  Question 1: after meeting with Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Al-Sistani you stated that that the country will face a dangerous situation if the elections did not take place in an appropriate and fair atmosphere. Can you explain more what did you mean by that? And what will the United Nations do to overcome this "dangerous situation" you talked about?


v  Plasschaert: The Government of Iraq has pledged to conduct early credible elections as a response to a popular demand and aspiration.

We have said on many occasions, and continue to emphasize that the elections are Iraqi-led and Iraqi-owned, and it may be critical to get things right because free and credible elections are essential to build trust.

Public trust in the political process is also essential for the country to move forward on many other files.

In other words, we can say that credible elections are an important steppingstone to address the people’s concerns.

So, the independence of the High Electoral Commission must be safeguarded from political interference

Popular representation and a renewal of political life are necessary in every democracy.

Elections are the lifeblood of democracy, they keeping it active and re-energized.

 The upcoming elections are therefore of great importance. If done right, they could conduct Iraq to a new period of progress.

As for our role, The United Nations in Iraq carries out its mandate, by advising, assisting and providing technical support to the government and relevant national institutions in order to generate credible and acceptable elections to all Iraqis.


v  Question 2: Overall, what is your impression of Ayatollah Al-Sistani? What is the purpose of meeting with you and not with the Iraqi political parties?


v  Plasschaert:  The United Nations appreciate his Eminence's efforts, his moral compass is of great value to Iraq. His wisdom is also a source of hope for Iraqis.

ü  Question 3: No doubt that The United Nations had a role of bridging the gap between Baghdad and Erbil, but will we see a greater role of the UN to solve the outstanding issues between the two parties?


v  Plasschaert: We encourage the permanent dialogue to solve all outstanding issues between Baghdad and Erbil, on the basis of the Iraqi Constitution.

These discussions are ongoing and we are encouraged to reach sustainable solutions.

 We all know that the general principles in the Iraqi Constitution require specific implementation mechanisms, but at the time of drafting, these were left to be defined by future legislation.

Unfortunately, since the adoption of the Constitution in 2005, there has been little or no progress on agreements to clearly define the rights and obligations of both Baghdad and Erbil, and thus the gradual enhancement of the federal system.

UNAMI is always ready to assist in any way at the request of the parties.

ü  Question 4: what is your position of the escalation of attacks against the international coalition? The most recent of which was the targeting of UNAMI in Mosul?


v  Plasschaert: Iraqis need a stable and secure atmosphere to raise their children and go on with their lives without fearing for their safety.

 Iraqis cannot afford another cycle of escalating violence, thus, The Iraqi Government has pledged to place all weapons under state control, and we support the Government’s efforts to ensure that the state has the "final word" in all security matters.

ü  Question 5: Do you support US withdrawal from Iraq?


v  Plasschaert: Iraq’s international relations are an internal matter related to its national sovereignty.

The United Nations in Iraq, in line with its mandate, supports Iraqi sovereignty and the efforts of the Government to affirm this principle.

We value any dialogue that contributes to the long-term stability, prosperity and sovereignty of Iraq.

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