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New names added to Iraqi Baath list

BAGHDAD, April 27 (UPI) -- The Justice and Accountability Commission in Iraq said Tuesday it was vetting nine people elected to parliament because of alleged links to the Baath Party.

Ali al-Alami, the executive director of the commission tasked with vetting candidates from March 7 elections, told the Voices of Iraq news agency that his group filed a petition to examine nine would-be lawmakers because of alleged ties to the outlawed Baath Party.

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Alami added that the nine people were affiliated with the Iraqiya coalition of former interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and the State of Law slate of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Allawi's Iraqiya slate won 91 seats in the 325-member Council of Representatives, defeating State of Law by two seats. Neither coalition won enough seats to unilaterally form a new government, however.

An Iraqi court Monday disqualified two March 7 victors, putting the formation of a new Iraqi government in further disarray. The candidates were among 52 others disqualified for links to the Baath Party of Saddam Hussein.

Washington is pressuring Iraqiya and State of Law to form a coalition, giving Allawi and Maliki each a two-year stint as prime minister, London's Independent newspaper reports.

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The rights group Amnesty International in a Tuesday report, meanwhile, said political instability was a cause for renewed concern over the level of violence in Iraq.

"Ongoing uncertainty over when a new Iraqi government will be formed has led to a recent spike in attacks, with more than 100 civilian deaths in the first week of April alone," the report said.

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