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More political parties, individuals withdraw from Iraqi elections
www.chinaview.cn 2005-01-13 13:18:44

    BAGHDAD, Jan. 12 (Xinhuanet) -- Due to the grim security situationin Iraq, more political parties and individuals have withdrawn from the landmark elections due on Jan. 30.

    According to the Al Furat newspaper, 53 political parties and organizations as well as 30 individuals have asked their names to be dropped from the election lists in a bid to show their rejection of elections under US occupation.

    A Sunni tribal coalition, the Patriotic Front for Iraqi Tribes,said on Wednesday that it would withdraw from the elections unlessit is postponed till the day when security improves.

    The coalition said the announcement was also in protest againstthe US detention of the alliance's leader Hassan Zeidan Khalaf al-Lihebi.

    The alliance is the latest major Sunni group that challenged the Iraqi authority which had refused to postpone the elections.

    The Iraqi Islamic Party, the biggest Sunni party, had earlier announced its withdrawal, saying the deteriorating situation prevents voters from voting and even getting full knowledge of thecandidates.

    Observers claim that more withdrawals are expected due to disputes on the elections among various political groups and individuals.

    However, the United States and the interim Iraqi government rule out the possibility of postponing the poll.

    Delaying Iraq's elections beyond Jan. 30 would give insurgents a tactical victory and provide no guarantee that security would improve, said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.

    "We want to make sure that there is as broad participation as possible in those elections. I think we all recognize that the election is not going to be perfect," he added.

    Fareed Ayar, spokesman of Iraq's Independent Electoral Commission, told Xinhua on Tuesday: "It is a matter of saving Iraqfrom dipping into a major constitutional crisis by holding the elections on Jan. 30 as planned."

    "The Sunni sect is one of the major pillars of this country ...and I believe that the Sunnis should play one of the major roles in the building of this country and I wish they would take part inwriting the constitution after the elections."

    Cautioning Sunnis against becoming losers in a reshuffle like Maronites in Lebanon after they boycotted the elections in 1990, Ayar said he hopes Sunnis would not be left in the cold in the aftermath of a widespread withdrawal from the elections. Enditem

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