BAGHDAD, Iraq – Iraq's Electoral Commission said Sunday that national elections will be held Jan. 30, including in areas now wracked by violence.
Farid Ayar, spokesman of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (search), said the commission decided the elections will take place at the end of January.
Iraqis will go to the polls to choose a national assembly, which will among other things draft a permanent constitution. The vote is seen as a major step toward building democracy after years of rule by Saddam Hussein (search).
Areas still beset by violence — including the insurgent strongholds of Fallujah and Ramadi, as well as northern Mosul — will participate in the elections, Ayar said.
"No Iraqi province will be excluded because the law considers Iraq as one constituency, and therefore it is not legal to exclude any province," he said.
The Iraqi voters will choose representatives for a 275-member national assembly, provincial councils and the national council for Kurdistan.
Ayar said that 122 political parties out of 195 applications were accepted and registered for the elections.
The commission has asked the United Nations to send international monitors for the elections. Ayar said the number of U.N. experts who have already arrived in Iraq is around 35, but said "we need as many monitors as possible."