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Only short delay in direct elections is acceptable, says Al Sistani

Gulf News
February 21, 2004

Berlin/United Nations |Reuters |
Iraq's most prominent Shiite leader said in comments released yesterday he would accept only a short delay in direct elections for a new government and that any non-elected administration must have strictly limited powers.

Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani has called for direct elections before the US hands over sovereignty on June 30. But on Thursday, UN secretary-general Kofi Annan said quick polls weren't feasible.

Al Sistani's comment came even as L. Paul Bremer, the US administrator in Iraq, said in an interview published yesterday it might only be possible to hold elections in January 2005.

Bremer was quoted by the Corriere della Sera as saying that much depends on UN assessment.

Annan's aides said he is prepared to send top adviser Lakhdar Brahimi back to Baghdad to help form a government if Iraqi leaders cannot agree on a power transfer plan by June.

 

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