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Press Release

18 January 2005

Iraqis in Britain will vote in Iraq's first ever free election.

It is expected that over 150,000 Iraqis in the United Kingdom will be eligible to vote in the upcoming election. Registration, commenced yesterday 17th January, will last a week, from January 17 to January 23. After that, registered voters in the United Kingdom must return to the polling station to cast their ballots from January 28-30.

On January 30, 2005, the Iraqi people will elect a 275-member Transitional National Assembly, with the goal of having at least 25 percent female representation.

The Transitional National Assembly election will be conducted according to a closed list proportional representation system with the entire country considered as a single electoral district.

The Transitional National Assembly will be charged with drafting a new Iraqi constitution. The draft constitution is to be presented for approval to the Iraqi people in a national referendum in October 2005. By the end of 2005, the Iraqi people are expected to elect a new national government under a new, permanent constitution.

"This is a significant milestone in the process of building a free democratic Iraq" said Ahmed Khudhair, the Iraqi Community Chairman. The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI) was established to supervise the elections and ensure a fair and transparent process. The IECI mandated International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to organise the election for Iraqis abroad, with its headquarter in Jordan. The significant delays in receiving information from Jordan, with bad translation in both-, Kurdish and Arabic languages, led to serious doubts and concern amongst Iraqis here, that whether it was beneficial to set IOM headquarters in Amman, Jordan. Said Jabbar Hasan, Director of ICA.

However, majority of Iraqis in the United Kingdom will look forward to participate in the process.

For further information please contact Jabbar Hasan on 020 8741 5491 or 07761081030. Email: iraqicommunity@btclick.com

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