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Iraqi Premier Warns Of Dangers Of Political Corruption

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki
BAGHDAD -- Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has described political corruption as a serious problem in Iraq that interferes with national unity, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) reports.

Al-Maliki made the statement during a conference on good governance at the Defense Ministry on October 15.

He said political corruption is more dangerous and "more tiresome" to the state than financial fraud because it undermines the "foundations of national unity."

He added that "the state can survive with fraudsters misappropriating public funds but political corruption undermines the entire state structure and threatens its social fabric."

Walid al-Hilli, a leading member of al-Maliki's Dawa party, told RFI that regional powers and neighboring countries attempt to influence the Iraqi political parties and government.

Al-Hilli added that the intelligence agencies in the neighboring countries work "round the clock to find ways of supporting certain political movements and groups so that they will do well in the coming elections."

Major General Muhammad al-Askari, the Defense Ministry spokesman, told RFI that the armed forces and Defense Ministry staff are banned from associating with political organizations to avoid the risks of political corruption.

Al-Maliki accused parliamentary factions of blocking new electoral legislation in order to discredit his government ahead of the national elections, which are due to be held on January 16.