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Iraq unveils list of March candidates

Feb. 11, 2010 at 1:40 PM

BAGHDAD, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Iraqi elections officials released the names of more than 6,000 candidates approved to run in March elections despite a pending court challenge.

Iraq's Justice and Accountability Commission provoked outrage when it opted to ban some political candidates from March parliamentary elections because of suspected ties to the Baath Party of late dictator Saddam Hussein.

An appeals commission reversed the ban for hundreds of candidates, though they would be subject to further scrutiny and possible expulsion from office after the vote.

The ban sparked outrage from the international community, prompting Washington to schedule meetings with top Iraqi lawmakers in an effort to settle the issue.

The Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission moved forward with preparations for March parliamentary elections by printing ballots in January despite the objections. IHEC has now released the names of 6,172 approved candidates for the March elections, reports historiae.org, a Web site devoted to Iraqi analysis.

The decision, the report said, is sure to spark outrage as the JAC appeals are still pending in the courts.

Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi in a letter to Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said the JAC decision violated the terms of the Iraqi Constitution.

Saleh Mutlaq, a controversial but influential Sunni leader who was banned from politics, said the repercussions of the ban could be "serious."

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