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."

 

Egypt declares three-month state of emergency in Sinai

Lebanon army attacks Islamists as violence spreads to Tripoli souks

Dozens dead in Huthi-Qaeda clashes in central Yemen

Punishment for sexual assault in Iran: Execution of victim!

European clubs step up campaign against winter World Cup in Qatar

Turkey keeps 24 people under observation after yellow powder scare

Russia denies Kerry claims: No agreement to train Iraq army

Germany offers to help Armenia forge peace with Turkey

Libya wakes up from ‘Dubai dream’ to face Somalia-like ‘failed state’

South Yemen separatists vow to intensify secession protests

Relatives of Iraq massacre victims: Blackwater guards should be killed

Ghannouchi makes it clear to Tunisia: It’s either political Islam or Daesh!

Deadly clashes erupt after army raid in northern Lebanon

200 Iraqi Kurd fighters to travel through Turkey to Kobane

Coalition strikes in Syria eliminate more than 500 jihadists in one month

Ahead of elections, new clashes remind Tunisia of need to fight terror

Saudi Arabia jails mothers for preparing sons to wage jihad

Jury finds Blackwater guards guilty of 2007 'massacre' in Iraq

Iraq Kurds approve reinforcements for Kobane

Israel classifies car crash as ‘hit and run terror attack’

Turkish woman arrested for stepping on Koran

Erdogan criticises US for airdrops on Kobane

Iraq schools provide shelter but late to open for classes

Syria air force shoots down two of three 'IS warplanes'

Egypt court rules on ‘Nasr City terror cell’

Fire from Egypt wounds two Israeli soldiers near border

By hook or by crook, settlers notch up property gains in East Jerusalem

Turkey envoy meets leader of parallel government in Libya

Israel arrests seven Palestinian fishermen off northern Gaza

Khamenei to Abadi: Iraq can beat 'Islamic State' without foreign troops

Saudi special court rules in cases of riots and terrorism

Libya army scores small victory in Benghazi

Only in Libya: Government calls for civil disobedience

Kasserine reaps bitter harvest from Tunisia revolution: Poverty and terrorism

Iraq Kurds set to vote on deployment of Peshmerga forces to Syria

Islamic State ‘share in US weapons’ embarrasses Pentagon

Alderton: Morocco unrivalled business gateway to sub-Saharan Africa

Protests over IS turn Istanbul University into war zone

Turkey eyes stricter punishment against lawbreakers at protests

For Sudan President: Promises are something and re-election is something else

Iran returns Abadi to ‘house of obedience’

From traditional military to counterinsurgency force: Syria army grows more capable

South Sudan rivals accept 'responsibility' for civil war

British drones in Iraq also used for Syria surveillance

Turkey launches new wave of wire-tapping arrests