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Allawi unveils candidacy for elections
www.chinaview.cn 2004-12-16 11:20:32

Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has unveiled his candidacy for the general elections on January 30. His name appears at the top of a list of candidates submitted by his electoral alliance for seats in the 275-member National Assembly. Wednesday was the registration deadline.
Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has unveiled his candidacy for the general elections on January 30. His name appears at the top of a list of candidates submitted by his electoral alliance for seats in the 275-member National Assembly. Wednesday was the registration deadline.
(CCTV photo)

    BEIJING, Dec. 16 -- Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has unveiled his candidacy for the general elections on January 30. His name appears at the top of a list of candidates submitted by his electoral alliance for seats in the 275-member National Assembly. Wednesday was the registration deadline.

    The same day, the interim government announced that the man known as "Chemical Ali" will be the first of Saddam's senior officials to face trial.

    Under tight security, Allawi announced the list of his alliance. It includes a number of ministers from his interim government, together with members of the current National Assembly.

    Allawi said, "As Iraq is on the threshold of a new era when its people will practice for the first time in history their right to elections, we announce our participation in the democratic process and put forward an Iraqi national list, which reflects the composition of the Iraqi people and responds to their aspirations."

    Allawi said the top priorities of his alliance is achieving stability in Iraq and rebuilding a strong army capable of defending itself in the future.

    According to the Electoral Commission, 89 blocs or alliances are set to contest the poll. The strongest alliance appears to be the United Iraqi Alliance formed under the auspices of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's foremost Shi'ite cleric. Other lists include one from the Iraqi Islamic Party, the country's foremost Sunni Muslim party.

    As registration closed, campaigning got under way. But out on the streets of Baghdad, concern about violence kept candidates away. Election organizers worry that violence will dampen voter turnout, and many Iraqis, especially from the once powerful Sunni minority, will simply stay away.

    Also on Wednesday, Iraq's interim defense minister Hazim al-Shaalan announced the first leader of the Saddam Hussein regime to be tried for war crimes. Ali Hassan al-Majid, better known in the West as "Chemical Ali." The trial could begin as early as next week. Majid is accused of some of the worst crimes, including the gassing of up to 5,000 Kurds in northern Iraq in the late 1980s.

    (Source: CCTV.com)

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