9 December 2004 -- The Iraqi Interior Ministry yesterday said it supports a proposal from interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi to spread the 30 January elections over several weeks in different regions to give people a better chance of voting in safety.
Interior Ministry spokesman Sabah Khazim said Allawi's proposal to spread the election over a period as long as three weeks was "an excellent idea." Khazim said the security of the election will be easier to ensure.
Abdul Hussein Hendawi, the head of Iraq's Central Election Commission, said the body would consider such a proposal if the government were to make it formally.
The commission would have the final say.Key Arrest
Meanwhile, the Iraqi National Guard yesterday arrested an aide to radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr in the Karbala region south of the capital Baghdad.
The cleric's office said that Ahmed Aqabi, a representative of Sadr's office in Husseiniyat, 8 kilometers from Karbala, was arrested at his home.
Al-Sadr's militia was dislodged in late August by U.S. and Iraqi troops from a revered shrine in the Shi'ite holy city of Al-Najaf in central Iraq, and his loyalists agreed to turn in their arms under a cease-fire agreement.
(AFP/AP/Reuters)For more on events in Iraq, see RFE/RL's dedicated The New Iraq webpage.