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UPDATED: 10:12, October 30, 2005
228 coalitions, political entities prepare for Iraq's legislative poll
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A total of 228 coalitions and political entities will participate in Iraq's legislative elections slated in mid December, a senior member of the electoral commission announced on Saturday.

The commission closed the registration for the poll late Friday night.

Farid Ayar told reporters on Saturday that "finally, we have registered 228 coalitions and political entities, including 21 coalitions."

Former prime minister Ayad Allawi, a Shiite secular, put forward what was described as "powerful list", the United Iraqi List, which includes many prominent parties and individuals beside his National Accord party.

It includes the Communist Party, the veteran Sunni politician Adnan Pachachi, former Iraqi president Ghazi al-Yawar, socialists and other small secular groups, a well-informed sources in the electoral commission told Xinhua.

Allawi's list is largely expected to achieve considerable successes in the coming Dec. 15 elections as it almost included all the Iraqi mosaic, analysts said.

But a representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said that the Shiite spiritual leader would bless none of the lists, unlike January elections when the Shiite bloc claimed that Sistani backed them.

The dominant Shiite "United Iraqi Alliance" headed to the elections with their list that included 16 parties, among which there are two main parties, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and the Dawa party, in addition to the new-comer the firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who had earlier fought the US and government troops.

But the Shiite alliance did not include Ahmed al-Chalabi, head of the National Congress Party. The Deputy Prime Minister, who was formerly with the Shiite Alliance, is running his own new political bloc, which includes Shiite and Sunni tribal leaders and individuals along with other political groupings.

The Iraqi Sunni Arabs also made their political coalitions, the Iraqi Consensus Front, which includes the Iraqi Islamic Party, People of Iraq Gathering and Iraqi Council of the National Dialogue (ICND).

Another Sunni coalition set up to compete in Dec. 15 elections is the United Iraqi Front, which includes five political entities, ahead of which is Salih al-Mutlaq's, who separated from the ICND after the late cooperated with the Iraqi Islamic Party who broke the Sunni unanimity as they came out in mass to vote against Iraq's new constitution in the Oct. 15 referendum.

As for the two Kurdish parties, the Democratic Party of Kurdistan and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan have renewed their coalition which also include the Kurdistani Communist Party and other small parties.

However, the Islamic Union of Kurdistan has come apart from the coalition to run the elections separately.

The December elections marks the third phase in the 2005 political process, following the January elections and the Oct. 15 referendum that approved the country's new constitution.

Source: Xinhua

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