BAGHDAD, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Iraq officially launched campaign for its general elections on Friday despite a row over the participation of some candidates with alleged ties to former president Saddam Hussein's regime.
Pictures of candidates were seen posted on streets of major cities in the country. The campaign is expected to last until March 6.
However, the row over banned candidates has not been resolved. The state-run Iraqiya TV reported on Friday that two most prominent Sunni politicians have been barred from standing in the election by an appeals panel.
Salah al-Mutlak and Dhafir al-Ani, both key members of a political coalition contesting the election, were banned over links to the Baath party, it said.
According to Iraq media reports, some 170 barred candidates filed appeals to the seven-judge panel, but the final results for the rest of them have not been announced.
Top Iraqi leaders on Feb. 6 had demanded the panel completely reviewing their cases before Friday.
The controversial Accountability and Justice Commission in charge of vetting the candidates, compiled a ban list of some 500 candidates over links to now-outlawed Baath party. The blacklist raised concerns about possible sectarian violence.