Baghdad: Only one in five candidates accused of being loyalists to Saddam Hussein`s regime successfully fought an order banning them from running in Iraq`s national elections next month, officials said on Sunday.
The Shi’ite official in charge of the vetting panel that is widely seen as targeting Sunnis also called on Parliament to declare the already-outlawed Baath party a terrorist organisation.
In his first press conference since the Baathist ballot purge, Ahmed Chalabi said the Accountability and Justice Committee that he heads "managed to reach results supporting (the) Constitution”.
The ban, which aims to purge candidates with links to the Baath party, is threatening to disrupt the March 7 Parliamentary Election, and could throw the vote results in dispute if there is a broad perception that Sunnis have been politically sidelined.
Chalabi is the Shi’ite politician who aided the US’ efforts to drum up support for the 2003 US-led invasion that deposed Saddam Hussein. The legality of his panel also is under debate. Today, he accused Washington of meddling in Iraqi politics.
Meanwhile, US Vice President Joe Biden said the Iraq war hasn`t been worth its "horrible price”, saying it was mishandled from the start. Still, Biden predicted in comments aired on Sunday on NBC that next month`s elections would be a success, with "full participation by the Sunni, Shia, Kurds and other minorities”.