BEIRUT

Middle East

Iraq election commission withdraws resignations

  • Iraqi protesters, demanding the ouster of premier Nuri al-Maliki, block on December 23, 2012 a highway in western Iraq leading to Syria and Jordan, in Ramadi. AFP PHOTO/STR

BAGHDAD: The board of Iraq's election commission withdrew its collective resignation Sunday, partly after an appeal from the United Nations mission to Baghdad, state television and a diplomatic source said.

The nine-member board of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) had resigned en masse over alleged parliamentary and judicial interference on Tuesday, sparking concern a general election due to be held on April 30 could be delayed.

But Iraqiya state TV, quoting election commissioner Gaata al-Zobaie, said on Sunday that the board had withdrawn its collective resignation.

The commissioners rescinded their resignations "after talking with regional and international" organisations, including the United Nations, a diplomatic source told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The IHEC's board has been frustrated with what they say is a vague provision in Iraq's electoral law that requires parliamentary hopefuls to be "of good reputation".

Based on that article, a judicial panel has barred several prospective lawmakers, including Maliki opponents such as former finance minister Rafa al-Essawi, with no obvious avenue of appeal.

Parliament has meanwhile reportedly ruled that the IHEC must not bar any candidates unless they have criminal convictions, a decision an electoral official said was at odds with that of the judicial panel.

 
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