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Iraqi Officials Reject Calls For Election Delay

27 November 2004 -- Iraqi officials today rejected calls for a delay of a general election scheduled for 30 January.

Seventeen Iraqi organizations, including 10 leading political parties, yesterday said in a joint statement that elections should be postponed because of ongoing violence and insufficient preparations.

But a spokesman for interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said the government is determined to hold the elections on time. He said Allawi is calling on all Iraqis to participate in the poll.

The head of the Election Commission, Hussein Hendawi, told reporters that postponing the election was "out of the question."

Hendawi was speaking after a meeting of the commission to examine the request.

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte said separately today that the security situation should not prevent elections from being held as scheduled.

Meanwhile, violence continued in Iraq. The U.S. military today said two marines were killed yesterday in Al-Fallujah and one soldier was killed by a roadside bomb on a patrol north near Duluiyah, north of Baghdad.

In Baghdad, three people were killed in two separate explosions.

(news agencies)

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