Sistani calls on Iraqis to vote in provincial polls
Many Iraqi voters say they are apathetic about the Jan. 31 elections to the country's powerful provincial councils.
Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, on Monday called on Iraqis to vote in provincial elections later this month even if they were disappointed by the results of previous polls.
The cleric is hugely influential among Iraq's majority Shi'ites, and his encouragement of high voter turn-out in the past has helped Shi'ites to victory in previous elections held since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
"His eminence urges all Iraqis, men and women, to take part in the coming elections, and stresses not to shun them despite not being totally satisfied by previous electoral experience," said a statement from Sistani's office.
Many Iraqi voters say they are apathetic about the Jan. 31 elections to the country's powerful provincial councils after seeing little benefit from local and parliamentary polls last held in 2005. Councils are widely accused of corruption and incompetence, and parliament is often deadlocked by bickering.
Reuters Last Mod: 19 Ocak 2009, 12:07