Iraq: Baath party candidates crossed out

The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI) has rejected the candidacies of 150 former members of ousted president Saddam Hussein's now-disbanded Baath party, the commission's chief, Adel al-Lami, told.

"We are bound by the law governing the dismantlement of the Baath party, which prohibits former party members from running for parliament," he said.

"We have given the party lists three days to replace the rejected candidates, and this may be extended by a further two days," al-Lami continued.

Parliamentary elections are due to be held in Iraq on 15 December. Iraqi voters will elect a 275-seat Council of Representatives for a four-year term. There are 307 political groups and 19 coalitions registered to contest the poll, according to the IECI.

In 2003, the United States' then-administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, issued a decree creating a national council for the elimination of the Baath party, led by the Iraqi National Congress speaker and current deputy prime minister Ahmad Chalabi.

The council removed some 30,000 former Baath party members from their posts, but subsequently reinstated 12,000 of these, most of whom were teachers. Differences of opinon between Chalabi and the US Defence Department began to slow down its activities one year ago, and these have been at a complete standstill for several months, according to AKI.


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