26 October 2005 A day after warning that the polarization in Iraq shown by the results of the constitutional referendum underscored the importance of an inclusive national dialogue, the top United Nations envoy in the country discussed the upcoming December elections with President Jalal Talabani.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative Ashraf Qazi reiterated the UN commitment to facilitate and assist in the electoral process.
“President Talabani expressed his appreciation for the United Nations’ role in assisting and advising the Independent Electoral Commission for Iraq (IECI) in conducting the referendum and the forthcoming December elections,” the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) said in a statement.
Yesterday Mr. Qazi said the degree of political polarization “poses an ongoing challenge for all Iraqis and underscores the importance of an inclusive national dialogue.
“Accordingly, it is essential that all of Iraq's communities fully participate in the December elections to ensure their full representation in the Government, the Council of Representatives and the Constitutional Review Commission which will be established for the express purpose of further broadening the national base of support for the fundamental law of the land, i.e. the Constitution,” he added.
Sunni Arabs, who represent some 20 per cent of the population and were the dominant political force in Saddam Hussein’s ousted regime, largely stayed away from last January’s elections. Shiites represent about 60 per cent and Sunni Kurds some 20 per cent.