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Last Updated: Monday, 31 January, 2005, 12:40 GMT
In quotes: Iraq election reaction
On Sunday, Iraqis went to the polls in the first multi-party elections for half a century.

Here is a selection of quotes from the day.

"Thank God, thank God. Blessed are the Iraqi elections. We greet all Iraqi people and urge them not to give up their rights, to vote for Iraq, elect Iraq and not to give up on Iraq."

Interim President Ghazi Yawer

"This is a historic moment for Iraq, a day when Iraqis can hold their heads high because they are challenging the terrorists and starting to write their future with their own hands."

Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi

"In great numbers and under great risk, Iraqis have shown their commitment to democracy. By participating in free elections, the Iraqi people have firmly rejected the anti-democratic ideology of the terrorists."

US President George W Bush

Votes are counted after Sunday's election
The election was praised by leaders around the world

"We have spoiled their party. We have struck them with grievous attacks... Thirteen lions from the martyrs' brigade of the al-Qaeda Group of Jihad in the Land of the Two Rivers attacked centres of the infidel in various regions of Iraq."

Internet statement purportedly from militants loyal to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

"We know there are many difficulties that lie ahead. But it was moving and humbling... to see the enthusiasm and clear-sighted courage of Iraqis who came out to vote for the first time in their lives... despite the dangers."

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair

"Iraqis who have voted today are courageous. They know they are voting for the future of their country, they are voting for the day when they will have their destiny in their own hands, so we must encourage them and support them."

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan

"This vote can have a positive knock-on effect in all the other Arab countries where there is authoritarian rule, where the situation of women is not one of liberty or dignity, where there are still many steps to take to emerge from the Middle Ages."

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi

"Every indication is that the election is going better than could have been expected... What we're seeing here is the emergence of an Iraqi voice for freedom."

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

"I can now bring to you the good news that freedom has won. We have conquered terrorism."

Adil al-Lami, member of Iraq's electoral commission

"This is a very happy and historic moment... I'm very glad and thanks to Bush and Blair and other coalition leaders who liberated Iraq from dictatorship and offered us this chance to elect our representatives in the national assembly."

Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani

"It is an initial victory for the Iraqi people and it is a first important step which was indispensable for democracy and for the political process."

French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier

"The conditions in which the elections were held were difficult, to say the least. Nevertheless, it is a step in the right direction and a positive event."

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Iraqis "deserve great recognition for the will they have shown to shape the future of their country peacefully and democratically, despite massive intimidation."

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer

"It was a great day for democracy and for freedom. It was a great day for the men and women of Iraq."

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso

"It's a sham election, held under occupation."

Former UN communications director in Baghdad, Salim Lone

Watch footage of Iraqis casting their votes


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