Coalition Provisional Authority
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Baghdad, Iraq…February 21, 2004 – The Coalition Provisional Authority issued the following statement of clarification, regarding a February 20 interview of Ambassador Bremer on Al Arabiya Satellite TV.
In response to a question put to Ambassador Bremer concerning the challenges of holding direct elections before June 30th, Ambassador Bremer stated in English: “These technical problems will take time to fix -- the UN estimates somewhere between a year and 15 months. It might be that it could be sped up a little bit. But there are real important technical problems why elections are not possible as the Secretary General announced yesterday.”
Ambassador Bremer did not articulate a Coalition position on an estimated timetable.
A transcription of the question and answer follows:
Al Arabiya Reporter: Mr. Bremer the thirst for democracy -- this hunger for democracy amongst the Iraqi's might be might be I repeat -- might lead to the elections as a extra step for this problem, never the less we heard that Mr. Kofi Annan the Secretary of the United Nations say that Iraq won't be ready by June the end of June to hold those elections this is similar to what you said your Excellency yourself when you said that Iraqis felt ready now --so -- ah holding those elections .. so what are the problems and the factors who are handling and improvising holding these elections your excellency and so on
Ambassador Bremer: The most important problems are technical ones as the United Nations specialists pointed out when they were here last week. Iraq has no election law, it has no electoral commission to even establish a law It has no law governing political parties, it has no voters' lists, it has not had a credible, reliable census in almost 20 years. There are no constituent boundaries to decide where elections that would take place. These technical problems will take time to fix -- the UN estimates somewhere between a year and 15 months. It might be that it could be sped up a little bit. But there are real important technical problems why elections are not possible, as the Secretary General announced yesterday.