Press Release

March 8, 2010
CARDIN STATEMENT ON IRAQI ELECTIONS

WASHINGTON-

U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD)
a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today expressed his support for Iraq’s commitment to a free and fair democratic election and offered his condolences for those who lost their lives. Iraq held national elections on Sunday amid continued party infighting that had delayed the election well beyond the original target date.           
 
“The outcome of this election highlights how far Iraq has come in its determination to allow free political expression for all its citizens, despite continuing threats and acts of violence,”

said Senator Cardin
, who also serves as chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission. “The democratic political process must be allowed to prevail over the violent differences that have previously characterized Iraqi political life. I am pleased that the United States was able to assist the United Nations and other entities in training election observers and international monitoring teams, helping foster Iraq’s political process.  Undoubtedly, having these independent observers helped ensure the overall success of the election. 
 
“I am hopeful that the post-election process and the formation of a new government will be positive steps forward, enabling the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of 2011. I urge the Iraqis to proceed fairly, but with appropriate speed, in tallying the election results and peacefully forming their government.  The Iraqis must continue the process of governing a safe and secure Iraq themselves.”            
 
Senator Cardin has been an active supporter of President Obama’s efforts to withdraw U.S. combat troops and end our military presence in Iraq.  He voted against granting President Bush authority to invade Iraq in 2003.