Interview: Iraq's Maliki says terrorist attacks to disappear after elections

10:41, March 08, 2010      

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by Xu Yanyan and Shaalan Jubury

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri-Al Maliki said on Sunday there would be no terrorist attacks after the parliament elections.

He made the remarks in an interview with Xinhua after he cast his vote at the Rasheed Hotel in the Green Zone of Baghdad.

"The terrorists commit more attacks to prevent people from voting, but I promise you after the election there will be no terrorist activities," said Maliki.

"They will give up," he added.

Up to 37 people were killed and dozens wounded in waves of mortar barrages and bomb explosions in Baghdad on Sunday, an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Maliki said his country "needs the election to renew the blood and bring professional and best figures to the top positions," starting from the parliament and new government.

"We are hoping the election could be a step to build a democratic state which is based on the constitution, and to provide welfare to the (Iraqi) citizens," said the powerful politician.

When asked about accused frauds during the election, the prime minister said he had held a meeting with top officials of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) for that.

"I see some procedures taken by the IHEC to prevent such kind of things, there is also a main role for the observers to prevent it," Maliki told Xinhua.

"I'm satisfied with such procedures but it doesn't mean nothing like this would happen, however there's little of it and will not affect the whole process," he said.

Referring to how long it would take for the new government to be formed, Maliki said it depends on the work of the IHEC to finish their task and announce the result.

"Because we had the experience to form a government, I believe when IHEC finish its task, the phase (to establish a new government) will not take a long time," said the official, adding "Inshallah," an Arabic word which means "if god wish," in Muslim tradition.

"I urge all Iraqis to participate (in the election) actively and vote for their best choice of the candidates which they know in advance," said Maliki.

Iraq began its official voting for the country's crucial parliamentary election in the early morning on Sunday. This is the second national poll since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime from U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

More than 18 million voters are expected to go to the polls across the country. There are 8,920 centers and 50,000 stations for the voting.

President Talabani became the country's first to vote on Sunday at a polling center in Sulaimaniyah.

However, some major cities suffered a string of bomb and mortar attacks, causing civilian casualties.

The Al-Qaida has warned it would sabotage the election by all means, threatening to kill Iraqis who go to vote.

Iraqis will elect the 325-seat Council of Representatives out of around 6,300 candidates. Around one million security members have been mobilized across the country for the election .

On March 4, an early voting among security forces, prisoners and hospital staff was held. The balloting abroad among 1.4 million Iraqis continued since March 5.

The election is regarded as a test for the country's national reconciliation and political process as it has been struggling to improve security situation in the past few years and preparing itself for a planned full withdrawal of U.S troops at the end of 2011.

Source: Xinhua
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