Allawi group says fraud in Iraq elections

Dec. 17, 2005 at 9:21 AM
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BAGHDAD, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- An Iraqi political group led by former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi threatened Saturday to demand an international probe into the integrity of the elections.

Mehdi al-Hafeth of the National Iraqi list criticized competing blocs, which he did not name, for having prematurely announced initial victory during last week's parliamentary elections, "while the truth is contrary to these claims."

In a news conference in Baghdad, he accused a certain "competitor" of using violence and threats against voters during the polling, especially in the predominantly Shiite south, which he insisted had "left negative effects on the entire election process."

He added that other regional countries had intervened in favor of "the same competitor, which is completely unacceptable."

While he did not specify the name of the country and competitor he accused, members of Allawi's list privately said al-Hafeth was referring to Iran and its support for the Shiite alliance list.

The accusations of fraud came amid growing charges of foul play in the elections, in which Iraqis voted Thursday for the new 275-seat National Assembly.

Hamid Majeed Mousa, the secretary-general of the Iraqi Communist Party and member in the National Iraqi alliance list, said the independent elections commission had failed to stop the violations that took place during the polls.

He accused the commission of merely observing the violations without interfering.

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