First Published: 2010-02-25

 
Iraq Sunni Arab bloc ends poll boycott
 

National Dialogue Front urges its followers to turn out in numbers for Iraq's March poll.

 

Middle East Online

Mutlak: 'we decide to help our brothers in Iraqiya'

BAGHDAD - Iraq's leading Sunni Arab political bloc announced on Thursday that it will take part in next month's general election and urged its followers to turn out in numbers.

The about-face by the National Dialogue Front (NDF) comes just five days after it said it was withdrawing from the vote, only the second parliamentary poll since the US-led invasion in 2003.

"We call on the Iraqi people to vote massively to avoid fraud, despite our reservations concerning the electoral process," Saleh al-Mutlak, a Sunni MP who has been barred from standing for re-election on the grounds of alleged links to the Baath party of now executed leader Saddam Hussein, said.

Mutlak, who was among 456 candidates who were barred, highlighted "the exclusion of candidates, which is hurting the legitimacy of the election."

On Saturday, the NDF had said that its 175 candidates would no longer stand in protest at what it said was Iranian interference in the poll.

However, electoral authorities said the boycott was largely symbolic and had no official status because the deadline for parties to withdraw had passed and ballot papers had already been printed.

Mutlak was the main Sunni figure in Shiite former premier Iyad Allawi's secular Iraqiya list. His disqualification is a setback for Allawi's bid to unseat Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

"We are concerned that the situation will deteriorate in the event that Iraqiya does not win, and we are sure that Iraqiya will not win if we do not participate," Mutlak said.

"That is why we decide to help our brothers in Iraqiya to be in first position in the elections and therefore to bring change to Iraq."

 

Gridlocked streets of Saudi capital turn quiet for day of mourning

Obama vows to maintain pressure on Qaeda in crisis-hit Yemen

New violence as Egypt marks anniversary of 2011 revolt

Erdogan visits war-torn Somalia amid tight security

Gaza announces plans to ready sea port for international travel

Barrage of rockets rains down on Syria capital

Egypt extends Sinai state of emergency by three months

Syria ambassador to UN to head government team in Moscow talks

Qatar court tells US family to decide on fate of alleged killer

Gunmen kidnap Libya deputy foreign minister from hotel room

Yemen Huthi rebels fire in air to disperse Sanaa protest

Islamist websites confirm death of Ansar al-Sharia chief in Libya

World leaders head to Saudi Arabia to offer condolences

Iran parliament starts to draft law on nuclear enrichment hike

Mauritania prison siege ends with captives freed

Syria opposition demands 'radical democratic change'

Tunisia turns the page on political Islam

Iran FM pays rare visit to Saudi Arabia after King's death

Signs of uprising against Huthis in streets of Sanaa

Israel prepares for any retaliation by Hezbollah

New Tunisia PM forms cabinet with no Islamists

Saudi Arabia buries King Abdullah

Britain allowed Libya to intimidate political opponents

Gul calls to Erdogan for greater democracy

Israel Arab parties join forces ahead of snap election

Mubarak sons freed pending retrial

Hagel: US has killed thousands of jihadists

Iraq asks for more weapons to fight IS threat

Half-brother Salman replaces late Saudi King

Yemen leader resigns, leaves country in deadlock

King of Saudi Arabia dies at age of 90, Crown Prince Salman declared new ruler

Europe pleads for more nuclear talks allowance

Israel PM accepts invitation to address US Congress

Huthis maintain tight grip on Yemen capital despite deal

Anti-IS coalition talks focus on threat of homegrown jihadists

Wait for Hezbollah reaction to Israel air strike on Golan ... next week

French flag burnt in Baghdad protest

Mubarak sons freed pending corruption retrial

Saudi postpones flogging of blogger again

Syria opposition in Cairo to discuss Moscow talks

Iran supreme leader urges Western youth to examine Islam

Syria opposition government receives US financial aid

Immigrant youth feel less equal in France of equality, fraternity

Kerry leads anti-IS coalition talks in London

Yemen president bows to Huthis demands