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UN, U.S. Welcome New Iraqi Election Review

One of a number of demonstrations alleging major flaws in the 15 December balloting (epa) 30 December 2005 -- United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and U.S. officials have welcomed a planned further review by international monitors of Iraq's recent parliamentary elections.

The International Mission for Iraqi Elections announced yesterday that it would be dispatching a team of independent assessors to take another look at alleged irregularities in the 15 December vote.

The new review by Arab, Canadian, and European experts will be held despite an assessment by the United Nations earlier this week that the elections were credible and there was no need for a repeat of the voting.

It was not immediately clear if the review will further delay the release of the final results, which are now expected in early January.

"It is important that the Iraqi people have confidence in the election results and that the voting process, including the process for vote counting, is free and fair," AP quoted U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad as saying. "These experts will be arriving immediately and we are ready to assist them, if needed."

Many Sunni Arab and secular Shi'ite groups have condemned the elections as having been marred by fraud and intimidation.

Leaders of religious Shi'ite and Kurdish lists, which preliminary results suggest will emerge strongest in the results, have been holding talks in northern Iraq on the possible formation of a coalition government.

(Reuters, AP, AFP)

Coalition Images Of The Voting

Coalition Images Of The Voting

The Multinational Force in Iraq on December 15, 2005, released official images of the voting in the legislative elections. To view a slideshow of their photographs, click on the image.

To see RFE/RL's special webpage about the election, click here.

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