U.N. 'impressed' by Iraqi elections

March 11, 2010 at 1:20 PM
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BAGHDAD, March 11 (UPI) -- The international community "is impressed" with the way Iraqis handled weekend parliamentary elections, U.N. officials said in Baghdad.

The Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission in a Monday news conference announced that 62.4 percent of the eligible people turned out to vote in Sunday elections.

The three northern Kurdish provinces boasted the highest voter turnout with an average of 76.3 percent. Missan province in the south had the lowest turnout with 50 percent.

Ad Melkert, the U.N. special envoy to Iraq, heaped praise on the Iraqis during a news conference with IHEC representatives in Baghdad.

"The world is impressed with the professional way the parliamentary elections were run," he said.

Despite early objections from contenders in the Iraqiya and Iraqi National Alliance slates, Melkert said observers concluded the elections were fair and honest.

IHEC Chairman Faraj al-Haidery said challenges to the election process were expected and considered natural.

"It does not reflect on the overall conduct of IHEC," he said. "It means the source of information is wrong."

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