| ORSAM HOSTED UN IRAQ SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE AD MELKERT
Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies (ORSAM) has organized a meeting on 9 April 2010 at Ankara Rixos Otel with the participation of the UN General Secretary Iraq Special Representative Ad Melkert as the speaker.
Large number of representatives from foreign missions, universities and media foundations participated the meeting that Ad Melkert expressed his evaluations about 7 March 2010 Iraq General Elections.
At the meeting, in general terms, Melkert mentioned his opinion on the electoral process in Iraq, the opportunities and challenges that Iraq faces in the post-election period, the effects of the election results on the future status of Kirkuk, potential Iraqi political agenda in the post-election period, the security situation expected after the withdrawal of the US forces, Turkey’s attitude towards the political process in Iraq and the UN activities in Iraq within this framework.
Melkert, began his speech stating the purpose his visit to Turkey as taking the advices and having the views of Turkish government regarding the UN activities in Iraq, mentioned that the UN presence in Iraq is based on a Security Council resolution which is updated annually and which devotes authority to the UN to engage in the Iraqi political process as an advisor.
Melkert presented the electoral process in five stages, explained the difficulties that were faced in the first stage; preparation of voter registry. He stated that although reaching an agreement on the new Election Law had taken some time, it was an important success in which the UN had taken the role of mediator where the system stuck in a deadlock. He mentioned that the main problem regarding the second and the technical stage such as preparation of the candidate lists was on the application of the new Election Law which prohibits the people who hold public office during the Saddam regime to participate political process.
“UN believes that the Elections Were Fair”
Ad Melkert said that the next stage, the Election Day on 7 March was very impressive in terms of both the way that the voting process was conducted and turn out. The following stage; counting was mentioned to be better by Melkert then the previous elections with regard to the capability of the system to prevent effort of fraud and influencing the results. He added that he finds the preliminary results announced on 26 March 2010 were credible fair enough.
He mentioned that the current process is the evaluation of all complaints and appeals by the parties or candidates by the Supreme Court and that after approving the results at the end of evaluation process, the Court is going to declare them. However, added Melkert, this process may take for 2-3 weeks more.
“Iraqi Leaders Search for Recognition by Regional Countries”
Ad Melkert pointed out that the four major blocks seemed to appear from the elections; Iraqiya List, State of Law Coalition, Iraq National Alliance and Kurdistan Alliance began to bargaining process although the official election results are not determined yet. Melkert, who took attention to the visits that are being conducted to regional countries by Iraqi leaders, mentioned that he considers the visits as initiatives to gain support and recognition in government formation process.
“Turkey is a Constructive Model”
Finally he touched upon the outlooks of the regional and international actors to the new Iraqi government. He mentioned that historically, those actors have stakes in Iraqi domestic politics due to historical and economical reasons. Herein he stated, there are two ways of engagement to Iraqi political processes; constructive and non-constructive. He emphasized that Turkey, like the UN, is engaged in Iraq constructively through both economic and mediatory links.
“Kirkuk is Next”
UN General Secretary Iraq Special Representative Ad Melkert underlined that after the elections, the time has come to solve the problems regarding Kirkuk’s and other debated territories’ status, distribution of oil revenues, security and socioeconomic development. Melkert pointed out that these issues need to be addressed on the right time, otherwise they may be the sources of region wide instabilities and the UN is ready to assist. Melkert ended his speech by stating that 7 March 2010 General Elections were the first one that Iraq has conducted by its own will and constitute historical significance in Iraqi political history.