Fostering a democratic and publicly elected government in Iraq is a U.S. foreign policy priority. According to the President, the United States intends to help Iraq achieve democracy and has a vital national interest in the success of free institutions in Iraq. Toward that end, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) transferred power to a sovereign Iraqi interim government on June 28, 2004. With assistance from the United Nations (UN) and international community, the interim government held a national election for a transitional National Assembly on January 30, 2005. To help Iraq prepare for this election, the United States obligated approximately $130 million to provide assistance to the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI), Iraqi nongovernmental organizations (NGO), and political entities. Much of this assistance is directed at not only the January 30 elections but also the two subsequent elections--a constitutional referendum and political election--scheduled before the end of 2005. As part of our effort to monitor Iraq reconstruction, we have gathered information on efforts to support Iraq's political transition. This report was initiated under the Comptroller General's statutory authority and is being addressed to the committees of jurisdiction. In particular, this report provides information on (1) U.S. assistance to Iraq for the elections and (2) improvements in the elections process that participating organizations identified for future elections.
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