Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier today (1 February) issued the following statement on yesterday's provincial elections in Iraq:
"Yesterday's provincial elections in Iraq went smoothly, I am pleased to say, and on present reports were largely free and fair.
They are a further step towards national reconciliation and they help boost political stability and the legitimacy of the new democratic structures in Iraq. That sends a positive signal also as regards the other elections due this year, including notably the general elections.
I appeal to all actors in Iraq to continue to seek peaceful solutions to issues that are as yet unresolved and to refrain from anything that could encourage violence and terror.
To this end Germany will further step up its support for Iraq both at the bilateral level and through the EU."
The elections were held on 31 January 2009 in fourteen of Iraq's eighteen provinces. No elections took place in the Kurdish Autonomous Region and Tamin Province with its capital Kirkuk. Over 14,400 candidates ran for the 440 seats. The elections were monitored by Iraqi and international observers.
Read more on Germany's bilateral relations to Iraq: