Secular party withdraws from Iraq's elections

19:06, February 20, 2010      

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An Iraqi secular party led by Sunni prominent politician dropped out of the country's March elections, protesting the ban of hundreds of candidates, a statement by the group said Saturday.

The Iraqi Front of National Dialogue decided to boycott the elections because of "the unjust decisions of the Accountability and Justice Commission," the statement said.

"After the press releases by Ray Odierno (top command of U.S. troops in Iraq) and U.S. ambassador Christopher Hill that the Accountability and Justice Commission is influenced by the Iranian Quds Corps, we can't continue in a political process running by foreign agenda," the statement said.

It referred to last week remarks by the U.S. top official in Iraq about Ahmed Chalabi and Ali al-Lami, the two heads of the Iraqi commission in charge with vetting Saddam Hussein's Baath party members from the political life in Iraq.

Odierno said that U.S. has "direct intelligence" that Chalabi and Lami "clearly are influenced by Iran," and that they meet regularly with Qassem Soleimani, an Iranian official of the Quds Corps. U.S ambassador Hill, later agreed with Odierno's assessment saying "I am in 100 percent agreement with General Odierno."

The Iraqi Front of National Dialogue is headed by the Sunni secular politician Saleh al-Mutlak who was banned from running in the election for being accused by Lami's commission of having links to Saddam Hussein's regime.

On March 7, around 19 million eligible Iraqis, including 1.4 million living abroad in 16 countries, will vote to elect 325 lawmakers out of over 6,000 candidates for the upcoming parliament.

Source: Xinhua
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