President Barack Obama paid tribute to the “courage” of Iraqis who “defied threats to advance their democracy” by voting Sunday in Iraq’s second general election since the 2003 invasion.
“I congratulate the people of Iraq for casting their ballots in this important parliamentary election,” Obama said in his first reaction to the crucial vote.
Iraqis defied waves of bomb, mortar and rocket attacks that killed 38 people to turn out in huge numbers to vote in elections seen as a test of the war-shattered state’s fragile democracy.
“I have great respect for the millions of Iraqis who refused to be deterred by acts of violence, and who exercised their right to vote today,” Obama added in a statement.
“Their participation demonstrates that the Iraqi people have chosen to shape their future through the political process.”
The president also commended the Iraqi government and security forces for providing security at tens of thousands of voting booths and polling stations across the war-torn nation.
“We mourn the tragic loss of life today, and honor the courage and resilience of the Iraqi people who once again defied threats to advance their democracy,” he said.