Tags: Iraq | chaos | election | court

Iraq Election in Chaos as Candidates Barred

Monday, 26 April 2010 10:33 AM

BAGHDAD- An Iraqi judicial panel has invalidated the candidatures of 52 people who stood in Iraq's March 7 general election, a spokesman for a controversial investigative committee said.

"Their participation in the election is considered cancelled," said Ali Mahmud, spokesman for the justice and accountability panel chaired by former deputy prime minister Ahmed Chalabi.

"The appeal panel has rejected appeals from the 52 candidates which the justice and accountability panel discovered," Mahmud said.

An electoral official said two of the disqualified candidates had won their seats.

Monday's decision was taken by a three-member judicial panel established by the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), Iraq's election organisers.

State television carried a statement from senior IHEC official Hamdiyah al-Husseini which said the 52 candidates had one month to launch a further appeal to a committee of seven judges who could reinstate them.

The role of the justice and accountability committee (JAC) chaired by Shiite former deputy premier Chalabi dominated the run up to last month's election.

It barred hundreds of election candidates, both Sunni and Shiite, whom it accused of having links to the regime of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Only 28 candidates who were among more than 500 originally barred from the election were deemed acceptable by the JAC.

Some parties decided to present alternative candidates in the election and it is from among them that Monday's 52 new exclusions came from.

The candidates row cast a shadow over the election campaign and led to the barring of Saleh al-Mutlak, a Sunni MP, and number two candidate on the secular Iraqiya list headed by former premier Iyad Allawi, who narrowly defeated incumbent Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki by 91 seats to 89.

With neither Allawi nor Maliki gaining anywhere near the 163 seats necessary to form a government on their own, the weeks since have been dominated by talks with smaller parties, some with close ties to Iran, to build a coalition.

Among those whose support the pair, the main candidates for the prime minister's post, have been jostling for is that of the Sadrist movement of anti-US cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Sadr, who has been in self-imposed exile in Iran for the past three years, however, has issued several statements criticising Maliki.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

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Monday, 26 April 2010 10:33 AM
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