9 candidates accused of Baath links can take Iraqi parliament seats

08:40, May 18, 2010      

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An Iraqi judicial panel on Monday said nine parliamentary election winners who were accused of ties with Saddam Hussein's Baath party can take their seats in the parliament, the state-run television of Iraqia reported.

"The Justice and Accountability Commission respects the decision of the panel," said the commission's executive director Ali al-Lami.

Seven of the nine candidates were members of the Iraqia bloc of former prime minister Ayad Allawi, the biggest winner in the March election with 91 seats, followed by incumbent Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's State of Law with 89 seats.

The panel's decision upheld Allawi's leading position in the election. However, Maliki has reached an agreement with another Shiite bloc for a coalition to form the government. Analysts said this would edge the possibility of Allawi to become the new prime minister.

After the election results were announced in March, the Shiite- led Justice and Accountability Commission has been trying to ban some election winners from taking office under charges of their ties with Baath party.



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