03/26/2014, 00.00
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Electoral Commission resigns en masse over interference from Maliki and judiciary

Baath Party members, still tied to Saddam Hussein, but also Sunni political opponents erased from lists. The Shiite prime minister prefers an iron fist with extremist militants, rather than involving Sunnis in political debate.

Baghdad ( AsiaNews / Agencies) - Just weeks before parliamentary elections, the Election Commission has resigned in protest over political interference and the brazen exploitation of the judiciary.

The group claims to have received enormous pressure to interpret the electoral law in a highly selective way. This would have included excluding candidates without "a good reputation" from the lists.

For the judiciary this means a highly restrictive selection of candidates, for parliament this means only those who have been convicted of crimes should be excluded.

In recent weeks, Baath Party candidates, still tied to Saddam Hussein, were taken off the list. But also many political opponents of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, such as the former Finance Minister Rafa al- Issawi.

Analysts believe that a greater openness is needed to include the Sunni and Arab components of society in the parliamentary process, who were marginalized in previous elections, and are likely to support violent militant groups.

Maliki and other Shiite politicians however are determined to use an iron fist with militants who are attempting to resume contacts with Sunnis.

Political and sectarian tensions are the basis of the current violence in Iraq. This month at least 400 people were killed in various attacks.


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