BEIJING, May 5 (Xinhua) -- China on Monday welcomed parliamentary elections in Iraq and hoped they would help push forward political reconciliation and economic reconstruction in the country.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a routine press briefing, "We hope the elections further enhance solidarity of various political entities of Iraq, and realize long-lasting peace and stability in the country."
Iraqis went to the polls on April 30 for the first time since the last U.S. troops withdrew from the country in late 2011. More than 9,000 candidates from nearly 280 political entities are vying for 328 seats. The counting of ballots is under way.