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Iraq PM Maliki denies Sunni purge ahead of election

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sabra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-19-10 03:51 PM
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Iraq PM Maliki denies Sunni purge ahead of election
Source: AFP

BAGHDAD - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Tuesday denied the war-torn nations Sunni minority was being targeted by a blacklist that has barred more than 500 candidates from its March 7 general election.

I deny that the Sunnis are being targeted. The Sunnis will be much more important partners this time than at the last election, Maliki, a Shiite, said in an interview on the state run Al-Iraqiya television channel.

Yes, there are a lot of Sunnis (on the election blacklist) but there are maybe more Shiites, he said, pointing out that 70 percent of the outlawed Baath partys membership was Shiite.

The premier, however, defended a controversial process that has seen 511 candidates said to have links to the Baath party or military and intelligence apparatus of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein banned from the upcoming poll.

Only the criminals and murderers of the Baath regime will be adversely affected, Maliki said, by a process which has seen the names given to the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), Iraqs election organiser.

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