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Al-Najaf Turnout High Amid Irregularities

Women voters hold up election lists in Al-Najaf today Al-Najaf, Iraq; 30 January 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Voter turnout is strong in the governorate of Al-Najaf, but at least one political party has complained that its list was deleted from the local election ballot.

The Al-Najaf governate is a stronghold of the Shi'ite majority, which is expected to win the majority of seats in the National Assembly as well as the governate elections.

Tawfiq Abbas al-Bidari said that his party, Free Republic, had registered to participate in the governorate's election, only to find that it was not on the ballot today, Radio Free Iraq's Al-Najaf correspondent reported. Al-Bidari called for a new election in the governorate.

Meanwhile, other local election lists have complained that Governor Adnan al-Zurufi's list violated regulations set by the Independent Electoral Commission, which called on all registered parties to cease campaigning 48 hours before the polls opened.

RFI reported that al-Zurufi's list continued campaigning. RFI reported on 29 and 30 January that al-Zurufi sent police out to hand out posters for his list.

The Independent Electoral Commission announced on 29 January that it would fine a number of parties, including that of Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, for violating the regulation, Radio Free Iraq reported.

Related stories:
Iraqis Vote Under Threat Of Insurgent Violence
Violence On The Rise Ahead Of Iraq Election
Iraqis Abroad Vote For Second Day
Iran Turnout Key To Expat Vote
Iraqi Expatriates Cast First Ballots

For news, background, and analysis on Iraq's historic 30 January elections, see RFE/RL's webpage "Iraq Votes 2005."

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