Iraqi minister warns of election fraud

The US ambassador to Iraq and the interim finance minister have both expressed doubt about the forthcoming elections, saying they could be marred by irregularities and security problems.

    Finance Minister al-Mahdi: Poor security might hinder observers

    Iraqi Finance Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi, a leading candidate on the front-running Shia Muslim list for the 30 January elections, said he feared the milestone polls could be marred by fraud.

    He also warned on Monday that the dire security situation could prevent observers being sent to polling stations nationwide for the vote, being hailed as the first free and fair elections in half a century.

    Police in the holy Iraqi city of Najaf on Monday announced a special security plan for the January 30 elections, banning all non-residents for a five-day period.

    "The interior ministry has announced a three-day security plan for the elections. Here in Najaf, we are implementing a plan over five days," police chief Ghalib al-Jazairi said.

    US envoy Negroponte says there
    will be some 'problematic areas'

    "One of the main points is that we will ask all the people who are not from Najaf to leave the city for the elections. Those who stay will be arrested and treated as terrorist suspects."

    Security problems

    The US ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte, acknowledged serious problems in advance of next weekend's election but offered assurances that "great efforts" were being made so every Iraqi can vote.

    In a series of interviews on Sunday on US television talk shows, Negroponte acknowledged an increase in intimidation of Iraqi officials and security forces and said serious security problems remain in "the Sunni Triangle" north and west of Baghdad.

    "But security measures are being taken, by both the multinational forces here in Iraq as well as the Iraqi armed forces and police," Negroponte told Fox News Sunday.

    "There will be some problematic areas ... . But even there, great efforts are being made to enable every Iraqi eligible to do so to be able to vote."

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    The US exaggerating and obsessing about foreign threats seems quite similar to what is happening in Russia.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months