- Title: IRAQ: LAST DAY FOR CANDIDATES TO REGISTER AHEAD OF START OF ELECTION CAMPAIGN
- Date: 15th December 2004
- Summary: (W5) BAGHDAD, IRAQ (DECEMBER 15, 2004) (REUTERS) 1. SLV STREET SCENES, TRAFFIC IN CITY; SLV BANNERS IN STREET CALLING FOR ELECTION; SLV BANNER OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY READING IN ARABIC "LETS GO TO THE POLLING STATION WITH ZEAL"; SLV ANOTHER BANNER BY THE COMMUNIST PARTY READING " TOWARDS FREE AND CREDIBLE ELECTIONS" (4 SHOTS) 0.32 2. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SPOKESMAN FOR THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION FARID AYAR, SAYING: "The campaign of all the political parties it will start today in the morning and already most of the parties they have started their campaign and it will last till, before 48-hours from the election day." 0.53 3. POSTERS URGING PEOPLE TO VOTE (2 SHOTS) 1.04 4. SOUNDBITE (English) SPOKESMAN FOR THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION FARID AYAR SAYING "We accepted till now about seventy eight candidates lists from the all parties and political entities and about nine lists from the coalitions and today of course it will be the last day to accept all the lists." 1.26 5. MV PAPER BANNER TACKED TO WALL READING "PUBLIC VOTING IS THE WAY TO CHOOSE REAL REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE" 1.31 6. SLV POLICE CAR IN STREET/ PEOPLE WALKING 1.37 7. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SPOKESMAN FOR THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION FARID AYAR SAYING: "I think that the security situation has nothing to do with the elections campaign as there are 14 Iraqi provinces where each candidate can start his election campaign. We hope that security would prevail all over the country to help all the people go to the voting centres and cast their votes freely". 2.12 8. SLV PEOPLE WALKING IN STREET/ POSTER CARRYING PICTURE OF TOP SHI'ITE CLERIC ALI AL-SISTANI; CLOSE UP OF POSTER WITH SISTANI'S PICTURE AND CALL FOR PEOPLE TO VOTE 2.22 9. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LEADER OF IRAQI NATIONAL CONGRESS, AHMED AL-CHALABI SAYING: "Ayatallah al- Sistani has played a very significant calming influence on the situation of Iraq and he has provided a very wise and respected leadership to help all the Iraqi people move towards elections, I think his role has been very important and his role has been very important in bringing people together". 2.44 10. SLV PEOPLE IN STREET READING NEWSPAPAERS FROM STREET STALL; MV MAN READING NEWSPAPER WITH HALF PAGE ADS ON ELECTIONS 3.01 11. SLV IRAQI NATIONAL GUARDS MANNING CHECKPOINT IN STREET; SLV GUARDSMEN IN STREET 3.10 12. SLV U.S. HUMVEES AND NATIONAL GUARDS IN THE STREET; SLV IRAQI NATIONAL GUARD BEHIND MOUNTED MACHINE-GUN; SLV GUARDSMEN IN STREET 3.27 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 30th December 2004 12:00
- Location: BAGHDAD, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Reuters ID: LVA2G7LHDTAR62MBPVM5B6LXRCYM
- Story Text: Last day for candidates to register ahead of start
of election campaigning.
An Iraqi political campaign coloured by hope and
tempered by worry begins on Wednesday (December 15, 2004), the
deadline for registering candidates and the first day
politicians can begin promoting themselves in earnest.
However, there was no sign of candidates out on the
streets of Baghdad drumming up votes, with widespread
violence expected to dampen voter turnout.
Communists, monarchists, Islamists, Christians, Kurds,
secularists and others have submitted their lists of candidates for
seats in the 275-member parliament, which
will draw up an Iraqi constitution and pave the way for
further elections by the end of 2005.
Streets of the capital Baghdad were full with banners
and posters by political parties and fatwas or (edicts) by
iraq's top Shi'ite cleric grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani
urging people to particpate in the country's national
elections, Iraq's first multi-party elections in nearly
half a century.
Candidates from 87 political parties and coalitions
have filed to run in Iraq's upcoming elections, after a
number of deadline extensions to ensure wider participation
in a vote seen as key for Iraq's democratic transformation.
Seventy-eight of the lists came from the parties and nine
from the coalition.
Campaigning began on Wednesday and must end 48 hours
before polling booths open.
"The campaign of all the political parties it will
start today in the morning and already most of the parties
they have started their campaign and it will last till,
before 48 hours from the election day," said Farid Ayar,
spokesman for the Electoral Commission.
"We accepted till now about 78 candidates lists from
the all parties and political entities and about nine lists
from the coalitions and today of course it will be the last
day to accept all the lists."
The Independent Electoral Commission extended a
December 10 deadline for submitting candidate lists until
December 15 after political groups demanded more time to
form alliances and pick candidates, spokesman Farid Ayar
said. The deadline already had been extended twice before,
Ayar played down the importance of the security
conditions, saying that the candidates could campaign for
elections in 14 Iraqi provinces.
"I think that the security situation has nothing to do
with the elections campaign as there are 14 Iraqi provinces
where each candidate can start his election campaign. We
hope that security would prevail all over the country to
help all the people go to the voting centres and cast their
The candidates have put their names forward knowing
they will likely be targets for insurgents bent on
preventing the establishment of Western-style democracy.
Several have already been killed, and many parties have
decided to keep their candidates' lists private until the
last possible moment.
Voters will also face the prospect of violence at 9,000
polling places to be set up throughout the country.
Organisers worry that many Iraqis, especially among the
once powerful Sunni minority, will simply stay away.
The strongest alliance appears to be one headed by
Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the head of the Supreme Council for
the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), who spent decades
in exile in Iran.
The list, called the United Iraqi Alliance, has been
formed under the auspices of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani,
Iraq's foremost Shi'ite cleric. the list includes
independents who will check the influence of Islamist
parties, such as Dawa and the Supreme Council for the
Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), which was founded in
Iran in 1982.
SCIRI leader Abdel Aziz al-Hakim is number one on the
list and Dawa head Ibrahim al-Jafari is among the top five
names. Both parties have had an uneasy relationship with
While Sistani has not publicly endorsed the list, it
was drawn up under his auspices and Hussain al-Shahristani,
one member of a six-person committee charged by the cleric
with building the alliance, said Sistani was pleased with
it. Sistani has issued a religious edict declaring that all
Shi'ites must vote in the election, however.
"Ayatallah al- Sistani has played a very significant
calming influence on the situation of Iraq and he has
provided a very wise and respected leadership to help all
the Iraqi people move towards elections, I think his role
has been very important and his role has been very
important in bringing people together," said leader of
Iraqi National Congress. Ahmed al-Chalabi.
The Iraqi National Congress, which grouped Saddam
Hussein's enemies in exile, has emerged as a power broker
in the main election list for the country's Shi'ite
majority, which could dominate the Jan. 30 ballot.
Chalabi used his connections with influential Shi'ite cleric
Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani to help draw up a mostly
Shi'ite list backed by the Iranian-born scholar, people
familiar with the list said.
Under the postwar election system, Iraq will be treated
as a single electoral district. The electorate will vote
for lists of candidates. The number of votes received will
determine how many people on the list get into the 275-seat
Names high on the list therefore have the best chance
of being elected. Chalabi is 10th on the Shi'ite list.
The deadline for voters registration was marked by the
announcement by Iraq's Prime Minister Iyad Allawi of his
candidacy for the elections, putting his name at the top of
a 200-strong alliance dubbed the 'Iraqi List', which also
includes several ministers from his interim government.
The announcement was made under strict security
measures as members of the Iraqi National Guards manned
checkpoints in the main streets of the capital, blocking
off a number of roads leading to the location where the
event was held.
Other lists include one from the Iraqi Islamic Party,
Iraq's foremost Sunni Muslim party and another from Adnan
Pachachi, a former foreign minister and secular Sunni
Pachachi and the Iraqi Islamic Party last month called
for a delay of up to six months in the election, saying
violence afflicting largely Sunni areas of the country
meant that it
would be impossible to hold free and fair polls.
Iraq's two main Kurdish parties, the PUK and the KDP,
have said they intend to present a joint list of candidates.
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