On March 10, 2010 the heads of the Accountability and Justice Commission Ahmad Chalabi and Ali al-Lami announced that 55 candidates that ran in the election were banned because of their alleged ties to the Baath party. The candidates were replacements for the original ones barred by the Accountability and Justice Commission in January 2010. Former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi of the Iraqi National Movement claimed that 30 of those newly banned were from his list, while one was from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law. Six of the 55 might have won a seat in parliament.
The question now is what to do with the votes for the banned candidates. The Election Commission is considering distributing their votes to others amongst their lists. Allawi however, said that members of the Accountability and Justice Commission might push to have their votes disqualified. The U.S. and United Nations are understandable upset with this turn of events, especially if the public or candidates don’t accept their banning.
Before the Accountability and Justice Commission dropped their latest bomb, the Election Commission was tallying the votes, and the large parties were beginning to make feelers to each other in an attempt to form a new ruling coalition. The Accountability and Justice Commission appears to want to derail this process just as it hijacked the pre-election campaign by focusing all of the lists upon Baathism. It’s no surprise that they would target the National Movement once again, as 72 of the original 511 candidates banned in January 2010 were from that list. Allawi is said to have finished second behind Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law, while the National Alliance, that Chalabi and Lami were candidates for, came in third. Getting rid of National Movement candidates would eliminate one of the National Alliance’s main rivals. This could open the door to a State of Law-National Alliance coalition that would likely then make a deal with the Kurds to re-create the current government. The Accountability Commission can even ban more candidates before they get sworn into office, which could be held over the heads of opposing lists to intimidate them even more.
International Crisis Group, “Iraq’s Uncertain Future: Elections and Beyond,” 2/25/10
Londono, Ernesto and Fadel, Leila, “Dispute over candidate disqualifications could mar Iraqi vote’s legitimacy,” Washington Post, 3/10/10
Morris, Loveday, “Battle over Iraq candidates’ Baath links heads for courts,” The National, 3/10/10
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