Secular list suspends election's campaign over candidates ban

10:40, February 14, 2010      

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The Iraqi secular list of Iraqiya said Saturday it has suspended its campaign for the March general elections for three days after several of its candidates were among banned politicians from running in the elections over accusation of links to Saddam Hussein's regime.

"The al-Iraqiya List has decided to suspend its electoral campaign," spokeswoman Mayssoun al-Damaluji told reporters.

Damaluji, who is also a lawmaker in the current parliament, said that her group headed by former prime minister Ayad Allawi wants the Supreme Judicial Council and the parliament to hold emergency session to discuss the decision of the Accountability and Justice Commission which is in charge of vetting Saddam Hussein's Baath party members from the political life.

She said that her list "will find itself forced to take difficult decisions" if other parties in the political process would not response positively to her group's demand of discussing the ban decision.

Earlier in the day, the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) said that 145 candidates out have been banned from participating in the country's March parliamentary elections.

"We have received a letter from the appeals panel with lists of 145 candidates who have been barred from running in the elections, including the two lawmakers Saleh al-Mutlak and Dhafir al-Ani," Amal al-Bairaqdar, deputy head of the electoral commission told reporters.

The two Sunni secular Salah al-Mutlak and Dhafir al-Ani are leading members of the Iraqiya List.

Earlier, the controversial Accountability and Justice Commission compiled a list of more than 500 candidates banned from participating in the balloting over alleged links to former president Saddam Hussein's regime.

The blacklist of hundreds of candidates included Sunni and secular politicians. The move was being widely perceived as an attempt by the Shiite parties which currently prevail the political scene to reduce the gains of other Iraqi factions in the upcoming elections.

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