Former Iraqi PM Allawi announces broad alliance to run national elections

10:04, January 17, 2010      

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Iraqi former prime minister Ayad Allawi announced Saturday a broad secular alliance that includes 63 political entities to contest the country's parliamentary elections slated for March 7.

"We announce today the formation of a wide coalition, representing nationalist parties and individuals, that comprises 63 entities under the name of Iraqiya," Allawi, a Shiite secular politician, told a ceremony held at the al-Rasheed Hotel in Baghdad heavily-guarded Green Zone which houses the Iraqi government offices and some foreign embassies.

Allawi said that his new political alliance is aimed at "establishing balance in the political process and ensuring inclusiveness to promote a national project that consecrates a powerful, safe and prosperous nation."

"The project for building a modern Iraqi state requires a national program that is applicable and meets the aspirations of the Iraqi people," Allawi added.

Allawi's alliance also includes the Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi who criticized, in his speech, the Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, saying that "Maliki has failed to create state of citizens to replace a state of (religious) communities."

Allawi's nationalist alliance is facing strong challenge from the powerful Shiite parties, mainly Maliki's Dawa party and Ammar al-Hakim's Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC). Last year, the two parties formed two powerful alliances to compete in the March 7 elections.

Some candidates of Allawi's new bloc are among 500 politicians who are facing the possibility of being banned from competing the national elections over charges of connection to the Saddam Hussein's Baath party which is banned according to the Iraqi constitution.

Source: Xinhua
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