Iraqis vote despite widespread violence

June 21, 2013 at 12:53 PM
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BAGHDAD, June 21 (UPI) -- Candidates running for council seats and elections officials in two Iraqi provinces were killed before a vote, the U.N. Assistance Mission in Iraq said.

Most of the Iraqi provinces held elections early this year, though voting was delayed in Nineveh and Anbar provinces because of security concerns.

U.N. special envoy for Iraq Martin Kobler said provincial elections were held this week in the two provinces amid a tense security situation.

Kobler said last weekend he was frustrated with the level of violence in post-war Iraq. Weekend attacks left at least 20 people dead. More than 1,000 civilians and security officials died in terrorist attacks or other acts of violence in May.

Kobler said voters in Anbar and Nineveh overcame the security challenges to take part in the democratic process. Several candidates and election officials, however, were killed in terrorist attacks ahead the vote.

"Despite the best efforts of the security forces, it is very sad that lives were also lost in this process," Kobler said in a Thursday statement.

The Thursday contest followed a U.N. Development Program report on corruption in Iraq. The report said the number of reports of suspected corruption involving public officials increased from 786 in 2004 to 12,520 in 2011, the last year for which information was available.

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