WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama seemed genuinely pleased when millions turned out for national elections even though insurgent attacks that killed more than 30 people. Obama called it "an important milestone."
The president said "Today's voting makes it clear that the future of Iraq belongs to the people of Iraq. "Today, in the face of violence from those who would only destroy, Iraqis took a step forward in the hard work of building up their country."
President Obama renewed his vow to withdraw US combat troops from Iraq in the next five months. He also stressed that the remaining 50,000 U.S. troops will be out by the end of next year.
It is Iraq's fifth nationwide vote since 2003, but only the second for a full four-year-term parliament. There was big turnout and limited violence, however, on the eve of this important Iraq elections a bomb blast killed 3 and wounded 54
The first elections in Iraq since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein were held on Sunday
January 30, 2005. In that election Sunnis substantially boycotted the vote. Before the formation of a new government, a Shiite mosque was bombed in Samara, starting two years of sectarian bloodshed that almost served to create a civil war.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who lost friends and loved ones, and we salute the determination of the Iraqi people to reaffirm their commitment to democracy,” and that the voting was a "rebuke to the violent extremists who seek to derail Iraq's progress."
The election is seen by many as a point in history that will decide whether to follow politics along the Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish lines or to take a new road away from the sectarian and ethnic problem that have been created since the fall of Saddam's Sunni-minority rule.