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No Delay for Elections in Iraq

Posted November. 22, 2004 23:04,   


The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq scheduled the general election date for its upcoming national assembly, silencing any doubts on conspiracies regarding election delays.

But sporadic violence has continued at the regional level, rendering it difficult to forecast the future of Iraq.

Date Set for Elections-

Abdul-Hussein Hindawi, the head of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, stated Sunday that “the election date has been set for January 30 next year.” He then requested that the Iraq interim government and the international community monitor the elections. Hindawi further stressed the importance of the U.N.during the elections.

Farid Ayar, spokesperson for the Electoral Commission, added that 35 U.N. election-monitoring personnel have been stationed in Iraq, but more aid is needed.

Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, head of the interim government in Iraq, met with Sunni leaders to urge for their participation in the elections. It was a move after the 47 Sunni-based political and religious organizations threatened to boycott the elections.

Two hundred seventy-five seats will be filled in the upcoming election, with 18 provincial governing consuls and a Kurdish national assembly. So far, 126 parties and 198 individuals have registered to run for office.

Rocky Election Procedures-

Ayar has stated that “the increase in violence and the boycotting of the Sunni Arabs will not deter us from holding the elections at every location.”

Regional battles continue as of November 21, nine days have passed since the American troops announced total control over the Fallujah area, with 1,450 insurgents captured. The Sunni Triangle, including Ramadi, is also experiencing its share of resistance, as doubts are cast on whether the elections can be carried out according to schedule.

The recent edition of Newsweek (November 29) reported that in Fallujah, operations to gather corpses were ceased, as too many bodies were strapped with booby traps.

The Internet edition of the New York Times reported on November 22 that 425 American soldiers were injured and 51 dead in Fallujah alone. This is the highest rate of casualties since the commencement of the Iraqi War last March. The Bravo Company of the First Battalion Eighth Marines tallied the highest rate of casualties (25 percent), recording six dead and 30 injured among 150.

Jin Lee leej@donga.com