Saturday, January 31, 2009

Obama praises peaceful Iraq polls

US President Barack Obama has congratulated Iraqis for holding a largely peaceful vote for provincial councils across the country.

He called the elections "an important step forward" for Iraqi self-determination. PM Nouri Maliki hailed them as "a victory for all the Iraqis".

There was a strong turn-out in Sunni areas, which boycotted the last polls.

The first nationwide vote in four years is seen as a test of stability before a general election due later this year.

"I congratulate the people of Iraq on holding significant provincial elections today," Mr Obama said in a statement.

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