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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iraqi decision means election preparations can now proceed, Ban says

8 November 2009 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed today's approval by Iraqi lawmakers of amendments to electoral laws, saying the move – which follows weeks of deadlock – means national parliamentary polls can be held in January as scheduled.

A majority of members in Iraq's Council of Representatives today backed the amendments, which are supposed to be in place 90 days before the staging of the polls, currently slated for 16 January.

Lawmakers had been deadlocked for weeks on how to deal with the oil-rich, ethnically mixed region of Kirkuk in the north and on the publication of candidate lists.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson Mr. Ban said “this decision now paves the way for preparations for national elections to be held in January.

“These elections will be a crucial opportunity to advance national reconciliation and contribute to Iraq's political progress,” he added. “The Secretary-General appeals to all political blocs and their leaders to demonstrate true statesmanship during the election campaign and participate in a spirit of national unity.”

Mr. Ban reaffirmed the commitment of the United Nations to support and assisting the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), tasked with organizing the ballot.

He also encouraged the Iraqi people “to participate in a process that will shape their country's future.”

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