Controversial Iraq Election Begins Amid Credibility FearsWorld | February 12, 2010, Friday // 13:00| views
Iraqi groups protest against the inclusion of Baath candidates as the country's controversial election campaign finally begins. Photo by BGNES
Iraq has begun its election campaign on Friday, amid a serious disagreement about the eligibility of hundreds of candidates that has already delayed the opening of the process by two months.
Preparations for the campaign has proved divisive and controversial, with the fate of more than 170 candidates still undecided. Many applicants have been banned for ties to the Baath party through which Saddam Hussein had operated.
The original list of blacklisted candidates totalled around 500 names, but a specially convened judicial panel has cut the number to its present level. Although the list includes persons from across the sectarian divide, Sunni groups have complained of being excessively targets.
There are fears that the row could exacerbate sectarian tension, and underline the credibility of the election process. The ongoing situation has been a major concern for the US in particular, as it is preparing to withdraw large numbers of its military forces by the middle of 2010.
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