WASHINGTON, DC—Representative Eliot L. Engel, the lead Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today made the following statement regarding the national elections in Iraq:

“I want to congratulate the people of Iraq for holding their first national elections since the withdrawal of U.S. forces. At the same time, I condemn today’s violence aimed at derailing the democratic aspirations of the Iraqi people.

“The road ahead for Iraq will not be an easy one. At every turn, voices preaching hateful ideologies and extremism threaten to hold Iraq back and drive the country into chaos. But today, as men and women stood up to sectarian division and lined up at polling places from Baghdad to Najaf to Ramadi, we saw once again that the spirit and determination of the Iraqi people will not be stifled. Whatever the outcome of today’s elections, the people of Iraq should take pride as they chart the course for their country’s future.”