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Iraq Stands Firm On Election Date

28 November 2004 -- Iraq's deputy prime minister today said that holding elections in January will be a "serious challenge" but that they must go ahead as scheduled.

Barham Salih's remarks come a day after Iraq's government, Shi'ite Muslim leaders, and the United States all rejected calls from Sunni Muslim politicians and others for the elections to be delayed for six months because of security conditions.

Yesterday, Tha'ir al-Naqib, a spokesman for interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, said the interim government is sticking to the 30 January election date after receiving assurances from election officials that voting would be able to take place in Sunni areas that have been wracked by violence.