Iraq's Kurdistan Asks Baghdad to Release Electoral Body Chief
    2012-04-14 17:22:00     Xinhua       Web Editor: Liuyuanhui
The government in Iraq's northern semi-autonomous Kurdistan region said Saturday that it has called on the central government in Baghdad to release the electoral commission's head and another member arrested on corruption charges.

"The decision of Baghdad authorities to issue a decision to arrest Faraj al-Haidari, chief of Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), and a commission member, Kareem al-Timimi, is a flagrant violation and a serious infringement of the political process," a spokesman for the Kurdistan regional government said in a statement.

It said such decision would harm the independence of the IHEC, and "is intended to abort the democratic process through restricting an independent body that control the country's electoral process."

Haidari, a Kurdish citizen, and Timimi, an Arab, were arrested on Thursday over charges of unlawfully giving extra money to some IHEC employees. But the two denied the charges.

Sunni-backed Iraqia political bloc and Kurdish bloc have frequently accused the Shiite-dominated government of monopolizing the country's judicial system to gain more power, and accused Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of evading his commitments to implementing the terms of a power-sharing deal he signed earlier with rival political parties.

The deal, also known as Arbil agreement, was brokered in November 2010 in the Kurdistan region. It paved the way for forming Maliki's current fragile partnership government after the Iraqi political rivals ended their differences that lasted eight months following the parliamentary elections on March 7, 2010.
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