With the ban of over 500 candidates already raising eyebrows at home and abroad and Vice President Joe Biden scrambling to Iraq to try to calm charges of a sectarian purge, the chairman of Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) Faraj al-Haidari is looking to add to the list.
Haidari said he fully expected that an undefined number of additional candidates among the 6,500 or so candidates running in March’s parliamentary election could be added to the ban list for “suspected ties” to Saddam Hussein.
Yet IHEC isn’t the group which initially leveled these charges against the other 500+ candidates on the list. Rather, that was the responsibility of the Justice and Accountability Committee (whose fairness and accountability have ironically come under growing scrutiny by President Talabani).
The Justice and Accountability Committee sent the list of 500 candidates to IHEC, who promptly rubber-stamped it. The IHEC chief’s comment today could suggest that the committee has submitted a further list to them.