UN / IRAQ

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23-Nov-2021 00:03:01
UN Special Representative for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said any unlawful attempts to prolong or discredit the electoral results process in the country, “or worse: to alter the electoral results through for instance intimidation and pressure, can only backfire,” and called on all stakeholders “not to go down that path.” UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / IRAQ
TRT: 3:01
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 23 NOVEMBER 2021, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:


FILE – NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, UN headquarters exterior

23 NOVEMBER 2021, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, Security Council
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, United Nations:
“In the early hours of November 7, an assassination attempt on the Prime Minister took place. A direct attack on the State. A heinous act, and one which can only be condemned in the strongest of terms. Let me be clear: under no circumstances must terrorism, violence and/or any other unlawful acts be allowed to derail Iraq’s democratic process. To ease tensions, calm, restraint and dialogue are the only way forward.”
4. Wide shot, Security Council
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, United Nations:
“What I am saying is: while losing seats can be difficult to digest, it is important - for any party in any democracy - to examine the reasons and to learn for future elections.
For any other issues, including accusations of manipulation, the established legal channels are open. And in the case of Iraq: widely used. But so far, and as stated by the Iraqi judiciary, there is no evidence of systemic fraud.”
6. Wide shot, Security Council
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, United Nations:
“Let me emphasize: any unlawful attempts to prolong or discredit the electoral results process, or worse: to alter the electoral results through for instance intimidation and pressure, can only backfire. And I call on all stakeholders not to go down that path.”
8. Med shot, delegates
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, United Nations:
“A lack of political, economic and social prospects made many, many Iraqis take to the streets. Their demands and grievances remain as relevant as ever. And as we all know, simmering anger easily swells. Plainly speaking, Iraq’s current outlook is precarious - to say the least. And in the absence of genuine reforms, the situation will not get any better. On the contrary.”
10. Wide shot, Security Council
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations:
“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.”
12. Wide shot, Security Council

STORYLINE:

UN Special Representative for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said any unlawful attempts to prolong or discredit the electoral results process in the country, “or worse: to alter the electoral results through for instance intimidation and pressure, can only backfire,” and called on all stakeholders “not to go down that path.”

Addressing the Security Council via teleconference from Baghdad today (243 Nov), Hennis-Plasschaert said Iraqis had much to be proud of after holding their fifth national elections held under the 2005 constitution. She said the elections were generally peaceful, well run, and featured significant technical and procedural improvements.

The Special Representative reminded Council members that the elections were hard-earned, following country-wide demonstrations in 2019 which were marked by violence, excessive use of force, abductions and targeted killings.

Hennis-Plasschaert noted that emotions could run high after elections in any democracy, but that such feelings should not be allowed to give way to undemocratic impulses - such as disinformation, baseless accusations, intimidation, threats of violence or worse.

She said, “In the early hours of November 7, an assassination attempt on the Prime Minister took place. A direct attack on the State. A heinous act, and one which can only be condemned in the strongest of terms. Let me be clear: under no circumstances must terrorism, violence and/or any other unlawful acts be allowed to derail Iraq’s democratic process. To ease tensions, calm, restraint and dialogue are the only way forward.”

The Special Representative underscored that "while losing seats can be difficult to digest, it is important - for any party in any democracy - to examine the reasons and to learn for future elections.” She added, “For any other issues, including accusations of manipulation, the established legal channels are open. And in the case of Iraq: widely used. But so far, and as stated by the Iraqi judiciary, there is no evidence of systemic fraud.”

The Top UN official in Iraq said the results of the election would only be final after ratification by the Federal Supreme Court, and called for further patience to to be exercised. She said, while it would be preferable to have the final results ratified sooner rather than later, it should be noted that there are no constitutional time limits for ratification by the Federal Supreme Court. However, she emphasized that “any unlawful attempts to prolong or discredit the electoral results process, or worse: to alter the electoral results through for instance intimidation and pressure, can only backfire.”

Hennis-Plasschaert stressed that, while the risk of continued political deadlock is real, Iraq desperately needs a government that is able to swiftly and effectively tackle the long list of unfinished domestic business. She said it was high time for Iraq to emerge from prolonged political standstill, and to establish dynamic, responsive governance mechanisms.

She said, “A lack of political, economic and social prospects made many, many Iraqis take to the streets. Their demands and grievances remain as relevant as ever. And as we all know, simmering anger easily swells. Plainly speaking, Iraq’s current outlook is precarious - to say the least. And in the absence of genuine reforms, the situation will not get any better. On the contrary.”

The Special Representative said the recent parliamentary elections could serve as an important steppingstone on a longer path towards regaining public trust. She stressed the importance of a sound and inclusive government formation process.

United States ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the October elections were a genuine opportunity for the Iraqi people to choose their leaders, and they did. She congratulated all Iraqis on the elections, especially the Iraqi women and members of the religious and ethnic minority groups who voted and won a historic number of seats in parliament.

As the electoral process proceeds, Thomas-Greenfield called on all countries to respect the process and allow the Iraqi judiciary to carry out its constitutional duty independently and expeditiously. She said Iraq’s leaders must engage in constructive dialogue to form a government, upon the certification of the election results, which focuses on transparent governance to support the aspirations of all the Iraqi people.

She said, “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.”

Thomas-Greenfield said the United States supports a sovereign and stable Iraq, adding that this election has taken the country one step closer to that objective.
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