On Tuesday, Shaikh Abd al-Salam al-Kubaysi, a spokesman for the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS), said: "A lot of people ask about the committee's position on the elections. The committee announces that it will not participate in any political process under the shadow of the occupation."

"The committee is not dreaming of power and does not want to give the occupiers the right to remain in Iraq."
   
Al-Kubaysi added that the AMS respects the choice of Iraqis whether to participate in the poll or not.

The committee had earlier said it would not announce support for any list in order to remain neutral.
  
The scholars also refused to participate in landmark elections for an interim parliament in January that were boycotted by the Sunni community, but a Sunni Arab coalition has presented a list of candidates for next week's vote.
  
On 15 December, about 15 million Iraqis are eligible to vote for a 275-member national assembly in the first four-year term elections since Saddam Hussein was toppled from power by the US-led invasion of 2003.