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SIIC's Hakim urges timely Iraqi elections

Sept. 24, 2009 at 1:08 PM

BAGHDAD, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- The head of the Shiite Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, Ammar al-Hakim, called on Iraqi lawmakers to ensure January elections were transparent and timely.

Iraqi lawmakers considered a draft election law for national elections scheduled for January. Christopher Hill, the U.S. envoy to Iraq, said in Sept. 10 statements before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the election was a step in the right direction.

"Iraq's High Electoral Commission has begun to register voters, and political parties are negotiating coalitions, several of which are likely to be cross-sectarian," he said. "We will continue to work with the Iraqi leadership to ensure that this process is completed."

Hakim in a SIIC statement delivered to the Voices of Iraq news agency said he was committed to seeing Iraq hold its next elections in a fair manner.

"Hakim stressed that election will be held in time in an honest and transparent way," the statement read.

Hakim was elected Sept. 1 to head the influential SIIC following the death of his father and former leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim in August.

SIIC is expected to lead the newly formed grand unity slate Iraqi National Alliance in the January national elections, considering several candidates as possible challengers to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

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