Iraq stops 226 more candidates running in elections

Iraq stops 226 more candidates running in elections over 'Baathist concerns'
2 min read
16 June, 2021
The Accountability and Justice Commission said it made the decision under a law which bans those tied to the former Baath Party from participating in politics.
The Iraqi legislative elections are to take place in October [Getty]

Iraq has excluded 226 more candidates from October's parliamentary elections, citing concerns that the individuals were linked to the Baath Party.

The Accountability and Justice Commission (AJC) was responsible for the decision concerning the early elections, The New Arab's Arabic-language sister service, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, said.

Many others were disqualified in two earlier rounds of exclusions occurring over the previous two weeks, among whom were dozens ruled out over alleged graft and criminal records.

A message from the AJC to the Electoral Commission concerning the latest disqualifications was reported by local outlets.

The AJC claimed its decision came under the Accountability and Justice Act, which bans those who belonged to the former Baath Party, in addition to those who held significant roles under Saddam Hussein, from participating in politics.

The AJC is often referred to as the "De-Baathification Committee".

Those excluded include Khaled Sultan Hashim, the son of Saddam-era defence minister General Sultan Hashim Ahmed.

The General passed away while incarcerated in the south of the country last year.

According to the AJC: "The Commission decided to include him in the measure as he is one of the defunct regime's figures' sons.

"His convicted deceased father is Sultan Hashim Ahmed."

The AJC stated that the ex-defence minister comes under in a 2017 law authorising the removal of funds from senior Saddam regime figures.

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Iraq's Electoral Commission told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that parties have a window in which to choose new candidates, in case of disqualification.

It said that it has no involvement with candidate exclusion and is concerned only with arranging and running the elections.

Iraqi parliamentarian Atwan Al-Atwani told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that there must be no further electoral delays, arguing that there exists a political impasse that only elections can resolve.

He urged the government to ensure the appropriate conditions, including by preventing non-state actors from possessing weapons.

For his part, MP Nofal Al-Nashi also felt the elections are of significance. He is concerned domestic and foreign matters could affect the political course.

In May, reports emerged of encouragement from some quarters to boycott Iraq's October elections over violence against campaigners for democracy and reporters.

In some cases, the results have been fatal.

Protests erupted in Baghdad's major squares last month, including Liberation Square, with participants calling for those who killed activists to be made responsible for their actions.