EU to send observers to Iraq polls

The European Parliament will send a small team of observers to Iraq to try to help monitor next week's general elections, an official has said.

    The poll will be the first constitution-based vote in Iraq

    Three European Union (EU) lawmakers will travel to the conflict-torn country to be present during the 15 December poll, the first constitution-based vote for a new parliament, the official said on Friday.


    But the group will not have the powers of an official mission.


    Attacks on civilians and the US military occur on a daily basis in Iraq, which is mired in security chaos almost two years after Saddam Hussein was removed from power in the US-led war.


    Foreigners are ill-advised to travel, especially without bodyguards.


    Britain, as current European Union president, had wanted to send an EU mission for the poll, but the idea was ruled out for security reasons.


    The EU's executive arm, the European Commission, too, is studying what role it can play. It has ruled out sending monitors, but could help with the training of local observers or provide expertise to Iraq's electoral commission.



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