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Iraq: Judicial Review Panel Disqualifies 52 Candidates for Ties to Baath Party - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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London, Asharq al-Awsat- The judicial review panel of the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission [IHEC] yesterday disqualified 52 candidates who participated in the Iraqi elections that took place on 7 March 2009 based upon procedures undertaken by the Justice and Accountability Commission.

Iraqiya bloc spokesman, Maysoon al-Damluji said that this decision “clearly targets the Iraqiya bloc and the reputation of the judiciary and the laws of Iraq.” Whereas Saleh al-Mutlaq, a senior member of the Iraqiya bloc, described this decision as being “shameful and embarrassing and not in line with the reputation and history of Iraq or the reputation, history, and achievements of the Iraqi judiciary.”

Iraqiya spokesman Maysoon al-Damluji told Asharq Al-Awsat via telephone from Amman on Sunday that “the Iraqiya bloc will go the UN Security Council – as Iraq remains under Chapter VII [of the UN Charter] – as well as the European Union, the Arab League, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, in order to protect the political process in Iraq.” He added that “the US signed a security agreement with Iraq taking responsibility to protect the democratic process [in Iraq] which Iraqis died for.”

Al-Damluji also told Asharq Al-Awsat that “we will utilize all legal means in order to protect the will of the voters and the people of Iraq and in order to ensure that their votes are not seized.”

Al-Damluji also warned that “the Iraqiya bloc feels that the government and parties who took part in the elections are interfering in the work of the judiciary and this is evident in the Federal [Supreme] Court’s ruling on Article 76 of the Iraqi Constitution which deals with the decision on who is the winning [electoral] bloc or the largest parliamentary bloc, as well as the talk about the nationality and ancestry of Dr. Iyad Allawi’s mother, and this is what is driving us to take all legal measures.”

For his part, Saleh al-Mutlaq, told Asharq Al-Awsat from Amman on Sunday that “the decision of the judicial body which was adopted on the basis of the procedures of the Justice and Accountability Commission – which is an illegal and unconstitutional commission – is equivalent to a coup against the democratic process and against the international community, including the UN, the USA, the European Union, and the Arab League, all of whom applauded the election results.”

Al-Mutlaq, whose National Dialogue Front is an important part of Allawi’s Iraqiya bloc added that “it is taken for granted that the international community will stand by the democratic process and support the Iraqi people against attempts to eliminate the political process and the democratic approach.”

Al-Mutlaq also expressed his regret that the judicial review panel “confirmed their affiliation to the government rather than the [Iraqi] people, and [confirmed] that they are following the government’s orders.”

He added “Ali al-Lami [head of the Justice and Accountability Commission] believes that the judiciary is over in Iraq, and that he has greater authority than the judiciary and the laws and that his vote and his will are more important than the votes and will of the Iraqi people.”

Al-Mutlaq described the decision as “a coup against the will of the Iraqi people who went out and were killed for the sake of an election they believed was capable of effecting change and a genuine national program.”

He asked “is it reasonable for the Iraqis to vote for a candidate and then this candidate to be disqualified after he reaches parliament? Would this take place in any other parliaments around the world?”

Al-Mutlaq also told Asharq Al-Awsat that “it is strange that just 4 days after the judicial review panel rejected the findings of this discriminatory body [the Justice and Accountability commission] and issued its decision in this regard, they returned to reverse their decision and issue a completely different decision from their initial decision. This is the second time that this has happened, [and previously] they issued a ruling saying that those who had been disqualified from running for the elections by the Justice and Accountability Commission would be allowed to take part, before reversing this decision.”

He added “I believe that the government has no shame and evidence of this can be seen in the secret and publicly declared prisons, and the torture and rape that is carried out against male and female prisoners, which is something that confirms that the government organs have deviated from an ethical system, for such practices only serve to hurt the Iraqis and make their hearts bleed.”

Al-Mutlaq also spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat about his fear that “the procedure of excluding [candidates] and belittling the votes of the Iraqi people will lead to violence, for when an Iraqi loses any hope for change through the ballot box then he will not find any means to ensure his rights other than to rebel against those who want to impose their will upon him.”

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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