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Iraq's interim parliament opposes poll delay despite violence
www.chinaview.cn 2004-11-29 11:25:57

    BAGHDAD, Nov. 28 (Xinhuanet) -- Iraq's interim parliament, the National Council, said Sunday that elections should go ahead on Jan. 30 as planned, rejecting calls from Sunni and secular politicians to postpone the poll because of guerrilla violence.

    "The National Council wants to stress that the fundamental law must dictate the process. The council's mission is to make sure that the executive's actions conform with this law, which states that elections should be held before the end of January," said Vice Chairman Jawad al-Maliki in a statement.

    "A postponement of the elections would create a legal vacuum...and violating the fundamental law would strip the government and the National Council of its legal grounding," he added.

    Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih said that to delay the national elections would have "serious ramifications to the political process" and bolster the cause of terrorists.

    "The government is working on the premise that the elections will be held on time," Salih told the BBC.

    On Friday, a group of 17 political parties, backed by former Iraqi foreign minister Adnan Pachachi, said the election date should be postponed by six months because of a lack of security. A postponement will also allow more time for preparation and campaigning, they argued.

    The country is divided on this issue along clear religious and ethnic lines with the Shiite majority against a postponement and Sunni Muslims and Kurds for.

    The political rift occurred while violence had no signs of abating.

    A major offensive on a cluster of small towns known as "the triangle of death" south of Baghdad intensified on the fifth day of "Operation Plymouth Rock," which was launched by US marines, British troops and Iraqi forces to root out insurgency in Sunni strongholds south of the capital.

    US marines said they killed several insurgents and took 32 militants in a series of actions on Sunday. Two marines were killed.

    Elsewhere, armed insurgents destroyed two government buildings near Ramadi after seizing weapons. The al-Arabiya news channel said the Habaniyah municipal building and the Khalidiya police station were blown up after fighters evacuated the premises and seized weapons.

    Also in Khalidiya, a US convoy was reportedly struck by roadside bombs and one US vehicle destroyed.

    Three Iraqis were wounded when four mortar shells hit a police station in Baquba while in Baghdad three youth ministry guards were wounded in an explosion on a main highway, said al-Arabiya.

    Also in Baghdad, a car bomb exploded Sunday morning on the capital's airport road near a US military patrol, wounding two US soldiers. Enditem

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