Page last updated at 11:13 GMT, Wednesday, 31 March 2010 12:13 UK

Call to bar Iraq election winners 'connected to Saddam'

An Iraqi election official points to the full winners' list (Photo 29 March)
The vetting committee did not name the candidates it wants disqualified

Six of the winning candidates in Iraq's elections should be disqualified because of alleged ties to the former Baath government, a vetting panel says.

If upheld, the move could alter the election result, to which State of Law coalition leader, Nouri Maliki, is already mounting a legal challenge.

Former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's Iraqiyya list won the election by two seats - too few to form a government.

A list spokesman said the suggested disqualifications would be illegal.

Unnamed officials from the Justice and Accountability Committee told the Associated Press (AP) news agency four of the six candidates belonged to Mr Allawi's Iraqiyya list, but none of the six was named.

The committee was set up to prevent people connected to Saddam Hussein's ruling Baath party from standing for elected office.

This is a political decision, not a legal one
Iraqiyya list member Hamid al-Mutlaq

Officials said they had submitted 52 names before the election calling for them to be barred from standing, but the Independent High Election Commission did not act on the committee's recommendation and six of those candidates won their elections.

The other two are a Kurdish candidate and a member of the State of Law coalition, AP reported.

Iraqiyya list member Hamid al-Mutlaq said: "The decisions of the Accountability and Justice Committee are not legal, those six winning candidates have the approval of the election commission.

"This is a political decision, not a legal one."

About 500 candidates were barred from standing before the election by the commission.

On Monday Mr Allawi accused Iran of trying to prevent him from becoming prime minister.

Both the UN and US envoys to Iraq have said the 7 March poll was credible.

Much of Mr Allawi's support came from Iraq's Sunni minority, says the BBC's Andrew North in Baghdad, but most of the parties he would need to back him represent Iraq's Shia majority and have close ties to Iran.

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