Iraq PM seeks allies online to join election list

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi. (AFP)
Updated 18 January 2018
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Iraq PM seeks allies online to join election list

BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi has launched an online appeal for allies to join his list of candidates for elections scheduled for May 12.
The initiative is a first for Iraq, ahead of its fourth parliamentary and provincial assembly elections since the ouster of dictator Saddam Hussein in a US-led 2003 invasion.
The direct appeal, which requires any prospective candidate to collect 500 signatures of support, bypasses Iraq’s traditional route of selection by political parties, clans or tribes.
In public shows of disaffection with the political system, protests are staged weekly across Iraq against corruption, cronyism and the failure of authorities to provide basic services.
Abadi vows in his election manifesto to lead a list of candidates that rises above the country’s sectarian divisions and is not standing under the banner of his Dawa party.
He says his online appeal was in response to “the popular demand for the selection of the most effective and best candidates,” and that it would “enlarge public participation.”
Successful candidates would need to be aged at least 30, clear of any criminal record and have completed secondary or higher education.
On Sunday, Abadi announced plans to stand for re-election at the head of a new list separate from key rival and Dawa party fellow member Nuri Al-Maliki.
His “Victory Alliance” would be a “cross-sectarian” list aimed at overcoming divisions and battling inequalities in the country, the 65-year-old prime minister said.
Abadi declared victory in December in the more than three-year war to expel Daesh from the vast areas of Iraq it seized in 2014.
Arab candidates, many of whose constituents were displaced by the battles, have appealed for the election date to be pushed back to December.


Libya protesters demand release of Qaddafi-era spy chief

Former Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi (L), dressed in prison blues, sits along with other defendants behind the bars of the accused cell during a hearing as part of his trial in a courthouse in Tripoli on December 28, 2014. (AFP)
Updated 26 min 49 sec ago
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Libya protesters demand release of Qaddafi-era spy chief

  • Senussi was extradited in September 2012 by Mauritania, where he had fled after Qaddafi’s fall
  • Al-Islam was captured and imprisoned by an armed group in the northwestern city of Zintan and sentenced by a Tripoli court in absentia

TRIPOLI: Relatives and supporters of Libya’s Qaddafi-era intelligence chief, jailed for his alleged role in a bloody crackdown during the country’s 2011 uprising, protested in Tripoli on Saturday to demand his release.
Abdullah Al-Senussi, a brother-in-law of longtime dictator Muamar Qaddafi, was sentenced to death in 2015 over the part he allegedly played in the regime’s response to a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 toppled and killed Qaddafi.
Eight others close to Qaddafi, including the Libyan leader’s son, Seif Al-Islam, also received death sentences following a trial condemned by the UN as “seriously” flawed.
Several dozen relatives and members of Senussi’s tribe, the Magerha, gathered in a central Tripoli square to demand he be freed over health concerns.
“The law and medical reports support our legitimate demand,” said one protester, Mohamad Amer.
Officials have not released specific details on his alleged health problems.
In a statement, the Magerha said his liberation would “contribute to and consolidate national reconciliation” in a country torn apart by intercommunal conflicts since Qaddafi’s fall.
The unusual protest comes just over a month after the release on health grounds of Abuzeid Dorda, Qaddafi’s head of foreign intelligence who was sentenced at the same time as Senussi.
The protesters held up photos of Senussi behind bars and placards reading “Freedom to prisoners. Yes to national reconciliation.”
Senussi was extradited in September 2012 by Mauritania, where he had fled after Qaddafi’s fall.
Like the dictator’s son, he had also been the subject of an International Criminal Court arrest warrant for suspected war crimes during the 2011 uprising.
But in an unusual move, in 2013 the court gave Libyan authorities the green light to put him on trial.
He has since been detained in the capital, along with some 40 other senior Qaddafi-era officials including the dictator’s last prime minister Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi.
Al-Islam was captured and imprisoned by an armed group in the northwestern city of Zintan and sentenced by a Tripoli court in absentia.
The group announced his release in 2017 but it was never confirmed and his fate remains unknown.