Iraq's communists join election race

The communists, Iraq's oldest political party, have submitted a list of 257 candidates drawn from all sectors of Iraqi society and united under one banner, newspapers said.

    Iraqis are to elect a 275-member national assembly on 30 January

    "The Union of the People list includes personalities of all faiths and all communities," party secretary Hamid Majid Musa told the daily Al-Madaa, without saying who would head the new group.

    He said, however, that one of those on the list is Culture Minister Mufid al-Jazairi, who represents the communists in the interim government.

    Musa said negotiations to link the party with other non-religious ones and the Kurds in order to have a wider-based list had failed.

    "Each preferred to go it alone," he said.

    The communist party is the oldest political group in Iraq.

    It was founded in 1930 and became one of the most powerful parties in the Arab world, before being progressively weakened by the former ruling Baath party and the advance of socialist ideology throughout the world.

    Second major list

    The communist list is the second major list submitted for the elections, following one backed by Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most influential Shia figure in Iraq.


    The main Shia parties form the backbone of this list which was also open to other groups. It comprises of 228 candidates.

    Iraqis are to elect a 275-member national assembly on 30 January in the country's first free elections in half a century.

    The assembly will write a permanent constitution, which, if adopted in a referendum, will form the basis for another poll to be held by 15 December next year.



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