Iraqi Sunni party reverses poll boycott over Baath ban

A panel last month banned more than 400 candidates accused of links to the Baath party.

Iraqi Sunni party reverses poll boycott over Baath ban

The party of a prominent Sunni politician banned from taking part in Iraq's March election on Thursday decided not to boycott the poll.

Saleh al-Mutlaq said his National Dialogue Front party would take part in the March 7 vote as part of the Iraqiya election coalition, a cross-sectarian group.

Saleh al-Mutlaq told reporters he would now allow his party to take part in the vote and called on all Iraqis to participate in the election.

"After meetings and discussions, we decided not to give the liars a chance," he said, speaking next to his political ally Ayad Allawi, a former prime minister. "We decided to strongly participate in elections."

His Sunni party said last week it would boycott the vote and urged others to do so too in protest at a ban on candidates with alleged ties to Saddam Hussein's Baath party. Mutlaq is among the most prominent of the banned candidates.

When asked the reason for his turnaround, he gave no specifics, only saying: "We decided to participate for the sake of change."

Al-Mutlaq's National Dialogue Front has 11 seats in the outgoing legislature, the second-largest Sunni bloc in parliament.

A panel last month banned more than 400 candidates accused of links to the Baath party.

He declined to say how many candidates his party brings to the Iraqiya election coalition, which is headed by secular Shi'ite former prime minister Iyad Allawi.

Allawi and Mutlaq said the vote was being rigged and their candidates had been intimidated, arrested and attacked.

Agencies

Last Mod: 25 Şubat 2010, 16:18
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