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."

 

Iraq investigates Mosul civilian deaths

Iran to symbolically sanction 15 US companies

US-backed fighters battle IS near north Syria town

Yemeni rebel supporters flood streets on conflict’s anniversary

Egypt’s dwindling Jews struggle to maintain heritage

Israel arrests 22 ultra-Orthodox sex offenders

Syrian forces pause offensive on IS-held dam for repairs

Dubai's Emaar Malls offers $800m to buy Souq.com

Iraq launches fresh Mosul Old City advance

Serious challenges for Arab leaders in Amman

Hamas partially reopens Beit Hanoun crossing

In Algeria, everyone wants to be MP, few likely to vote

Syria fighting damages IS-held dam posing rising water risk

Iran to appeal seizure of 9/11 compensation money

Hamas shuts Gaza crossing after assassination of official

Deep concern as Israeli laws entrench the occupation

Turkey’s Kurds could sway tight referendum vote

Al-Qaeda, on the rise again, hits Assad where it hurts

US and allies talk of post-ISIS future, but have no plan

Israel’s air strike on Syria spooks Middle East

Gunmen kill Hamas official in Gaza

Separate Syria air strikes kill at least 32

UN says Israel has ignored resolution on illegal settlements

Veteran politician says Turkey referendum a 'test' for Kurds

More Algerian women in work, but husbands control wages

Beirut university settles US lawsuit over Hezbollah

1.1 million weekend travellers from Dubai hit by laptop ban

Shiite Lebanese women endure painful custody battles

Russia, China seek Iraq chemical weapons probe

Besieged Syrians struggle with dwindling dialysis supplies

Syria army retakes Damascus areas from rebels

Syria says peace talks must first focus on 'terrorism'

12 Syrian refugees dead after boat sinks off Turkey coast

Mosul displaced head into unknown

As war keeps them away, Yemen children dream of school

Ousted Egyptian president Mubarak freed from detention

Iraq's Sadr threatens boycott if election law unchanged

Israel, US fail to reach settlement agreement

Yemen rebel missile kills Saudi soldier

Turkish FM in Switzerland amid rising tensions with Europe

Two more 'significant arrests' over London attack

Britain arrests eight as IS claims Westminster attack

Man attempts to drive into crowd of shoppers in Belgium’s Antwerp

Palestinian FA chief says ball in Israel's court

Israel arrests Jewish teen over anti-Semitic terror threats