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U.N. 'impressed' by Iraqi vote preparation

Feb. 28, 2014 at 9:59 AM
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BAGHDAD, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- U.N. special envoy to Iraq Nickolay Mladenov said he was "impressed" by how well elections officials have prepared for the April contest.

Iraq holds elections for its Council of Representatives alongside their Kurdish counterparts April 30. Mladenov met in Baghdad with elections officials, saying authorities were working hard to ensure international observers and security preparations were in place for a successful election.

"I am impressed by the hard work being done on daily basis by Independent High Electoral Commission personnel despite the unfavorable security environment and constant political challenges," he said in a statement Thursday.

More than 30 people were killed and at least 50 others were injured Thursday in a series of bomb attacks across Iraq. The New York Times reported most of the attacks were in Shiite districts in Baghdad.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is struggling to stabilize a country witnessing a rise in al-Qaida activity, particular in western Anbar province. U.S. officials have said al-Qaida is exploiting political divisions between Shiite and Sunni leaders in the country.

Maliki, a Shiite, is seeking a third term in office in April elections.

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