4 Feb 2010

Election ban overturned in Iraq

8:35 am on 4 February 2010

Iraq has lifted a ban on nearly 500 candidates barred from a general election in March for supposed links to the Baathist party of the late Saddam Hussein.

The BBC reports the ban was lifted by an appeals panel on candidates listed last month by the Justice and Accountability Committee.

However, the Independent High Electoral Commission said successful candidates on the list would not be able to assume office until the appeals panel gives a final ruling on their cases.

President Jalal Talabani asked for the ban to be lifted, saying the commission's decision might not have been legal as it was not approved by parliament.

The election is to be held on 7 March. Many Sunni Arabs boycotted the last parliamentary election in 2005.