Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 23, 2021
Thank you, Mr. President. And let me thank Special Representative Hennis-Plasschaert and Ms. Amal Kabashi for your briefings. And thank you, SRSG, for your steadfast leadership throughout Iraq’s election process.
In October 2019, the people of Iraq took to the streets and demanded change through peaceful protests. Since then, the UNAMI team has been essential in facilitating sound and credible elections designed to reflect the will of the Iraqi people. In May, this Council decided UNAMI should provide a team to monitor Iraq’s parliamentary elections. Thanks to the many states who gave financial support, UNAMI provided five times more UN officials to assist the Independent High Electoral Commission than during the 2018 election.
The Secretary-General’s November 9 election process report, like the EU Observation Mission’s interim report, concluded that the polling was well-managed and voters cast their ballots in an orderly manner in a peaceful environment. IHEC promptly resolved the minor issues that arose and, crucially, IHEC’s partial manual recount matched the results – further demonstrating the integrity of the voting and counting systems. This is a remarkable achievement. This was a genuine opportunity for the Iraqi people to choose their leaders. And they did.
Congratulations to all Iraqis on this election; and a special congratulations to the Iraqi women and members of the religious and ethnic minority groups who voted and won a historic number of seats in parliament. In a world with far too much democratic backsliding, IHEC, the Government of Iraq, and the Iraqi people should be proud of this election. This Council, too, should be proud of these results and seek to support replicating them in the future.
After all, this Council spoke in unison, authorizing UNAMI to provide electoral technical assistance and election monitors. This Council came together and provided the resources the Government of Iraq needed to meet the legitimate demands of its people. This Council helped strengthen democratic institutions. Let us continue to work together, in this spirit of cooperation, on this file and across the Council’s agenda.
Looking forward, we are eager for the publication of UNAMI’s detailed analysis of all collected data from its monitoring activity, as previewed in paragraph 65 of the Secretary-General’s report. With continued international and domestic investments in Iraq’s electoral system, future elections can be informed by this valuable data, build on this momentum, and provide even greater opportunities for voters to peacefully chart their country’s desires.
As the electoral process laid out in Iraqi law proceeds, we call on all countries to respect the process and allow the judiciary to carry out its constitutional duty independently and expeditiously. Iraq’s leaders must engage in constructive dialogue to form a government upon the certification of the election results, one focused on transparent governance to support the aspirations of all the Iraqi people.
The process of forming a government should be done without fear, without intimidation, or the threat of violence. So, we condemn the attempted assassination of Prime Minister al-Kadhimi in the strongest terms, as well as any other efforts to influence the electoral process through violence, intimidation, or coercion. Any threat against UN and IHEC personnel must be met with full condemnation by this Council.
As Iraq looks to complete the final stages of this successful election process and build on it for elections to come, it has a strong partner in the United States. We are committed to deepening our bilateral relationship and supporting Iraq’s democracy. We continue to implement the outcomes of our Strategic Dialogue with Iraq, and are laser-focused on economic development, climate adaptation, public health, and human rights for all. We support a sovereign and stable Iraq. And this election takes us one step closer to that objective.
Thank you, Mr. President.