Iraq president insists election will go ahead

13th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 13 (AFP) - Visiting Iraqi interim President Ghazi al-Yawar on Thursday insisted that landmark elections set to take place on January 30 would go ahead as scheduled, and called on all Iraqis to cast ballots.

PARIS, Jan 13 (AFP) - Visiting Iraqi interim President Ghazi al-Yawar on Thursday insisted that landmark elections set to take place on January 30 would go ahead as scheduled, and called on all Iraqis to cast ballots.

"These elections will be 100 percent free and honest," Yawar told reporters after talks with French President Jacques Chirac.

"Right now, we are in the middle of a political process that we are determined in Iraq to see succeed, and to include all Iraqis who do not condone violence" as a means of political action, he added.

The elections will "take place on the date set," the Iraqi president said.

Iraq is preparing for its first free and fair polls in half a century. Despite continued deadly violence across the country, US and Iraqi forces insist the polls will go ahead as planned.

But Iraqi leaders have acknowledged that a nationwide vote for a new national assembly could be problematic, with organisation of the polls ensured in only 14 of the country's 18 provinces.

"The multinational forces are there. They are in the process of helping to restore security in Iraq. They were invited by the Iraqi government and they will leave when we have the security forces capable of re-establishing security across all of Iraq," Yawar told reporters.

When asked whether foreign bases, primarily US camps, would remain on Iraqi soil, Yawar replied: "That decision is not in the hands of an interim government, but is rather a decision for an elected government chosen by the Iraqi people."

He called for the highest participation possible in the January 30 polls.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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