Washington -- President Bush, Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi
Annan have welcomed the announcement from the Iraqi electoral
commission that voters have approved Iraq’s draft constitution
in a referendum October 15.
Iraqi children submit their parents' votes on the draft constitution in Iraq. President Bush praised Iraq's elections commission for certifying the passage of the constitution Tuesday, October 25. "Iraqis are making inspiring progress toward building a democracy," the president said.
"With their courageous vote, the Iraqi
people have once again proved their determination to build
a democracy united against extremism and violence,"
Bush said in a speech in Washington October 25.
The Independent Electoral Commission of
Iraq released the preliminary results of the referendum
on the draft constitution October 25. Election officials
reported that more than 78 percent of the voters approved
The president said the draft constitution
guarantees fundamental freedoms and lays the foundation
for lasting democracy. He noted that many more Sunnis cast
ballots in the referendum than in the elections in January
for a transitional government.
Bush related an anecdote of an 85-year-old
woman casting her vote in favor of the constitution after
her son carried her on his back to the polls.
"She said, 'I went out to vote for
it because I want the future to be safe and peaceful for
my sons and my grandchildren,'" the president said.
In expressing congratulations to the Iraqi
people on the passage of the document, Secretary Rice said,
"Iraqis have met every challenge before them, from
the transfer of sovereignty and the elections last January
to the writing of the constitution and the holding of the
Rice said she hopes that all Iraqis will
turn out to vote in the December 15 elections to choose
the first permanent government of a free Iraq.
"As Iraq enters this new phase in its
history, the United States vows its continued support,"
U.N. Secretary-General Annan called the
referendum an "historic event," which he hopes
will mark a milestone on Iraq's path to democracy, according
to a statement issued by the United Nations.
He said the high voter turnout throughout
the country and among all the main political groups despite
threats of violence against them was a "welcome sign
of their desire to choose ballots rather than bullets to
express their political views."
The secretary-general expressed a hope that
the adoption of the constitution will encourage a spirit
of national reconciliation and an inclusive political process
in the effort to build a democratic and united Iraq.
"The United Nations will continue to
make every effort to support the efforts of the Iraqi people
and government to that end," he said.
For additional information, see Iraq’s