Martin Chulov
London Guardian
March 29, 2010

A commission charged with stopping former Ba’ath party loyalists from returning to public life in Iraq has mounted a challenge to the country’s recent election, claiming six candidates who won seats had been banned from standing.

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The body, known as the Accountability and Justice Commission, played a prominent role in the lead-up to the election in March, outlawing dozens of candidates and sparking fears of another mass Sunni boycott, as well as concerns that it had a political agenda. The six candidates were banned on the eve of the election.

Ali Faisal al-Lami, the commission’s head, who was a losing Shia contender in the poll, refused today to reveal their names. However, it is understood that at least three hail from the Iraqiya party of Ayad Allawi, whose slender two-seat victory over rival Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister before the election, gave him the stronger claim on forming a government.

If Allawi were to lose three of his 91 seats and Maliki to remain at 89 seats, Iraqiya would lose its narrow majority. This would significantly change the political balance of power that is beginning to emerge.

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