Iraqi census plan rejected by U.S.

Dec. 4, 2003 at 2:25 PM
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BAGHDAD, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- An Iraqi plan to conduct a nationwide census by next summer in preparation for September national elections has reportedly been rejected by the United States.

The New York Times reported Thursday American occupation officials rejected the plan to compile a voter roll rapidly and also argued to the Governing Council the lack of a voter roll meant national elections were impractical. Instead, the American plan calls for a series of caucus-style, indirect elections.

The newspaper said Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most influential Shiite cleric, wants national elections held next June, not the indirect balloting favored by the American plan for turning over control of the country.

American officials, and some Iraqis, say the nation is not ready for national elections, partly because the logistics are too daunting.

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