7 December 2004
BRUSSELS – Iraq’s elections could be spread out over 15-20 days in January, interim Iraqi prime minister Iyad Allawi has told a Belgian newspaper.
“Everyone – Shiites, Sunnis, Christians, Kurds, Turkomans – should take part in the vote,” he said in Le Soir, in an interview about the rapidly approaching elections on 30 January.
“For that I think one could envisage elections spread over 15 days, 20 days, with polling on different dates for different provinces…that would allow for adequate security arrangements to be put in place,” he said.
The interview took place during the prime minister’s private visit to Geneva last week.
He also told the newspaper that he was thinking about holding elections in different provinces on different dates.
Allawi said the situation in 14 or 15 of Iraq’s provinces was calm but that it was “bad” in Mosul, the Anbar province, small areas of Baghdad and part of the Diyala province.
The resurgence of conflict in Iraq has prompted questions over whether the interim government will be able to abide by the scheduled 30 January polling date.
US President George W Bush restated his backing for the date during a meeting on Monday with Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawar.
Allawi said the 30 January date was “fixed” and would go ahead.
He added that foreign observers would be allowed access to the polls to judge whether they were “free and fair”.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news