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Samarraei: candidates'' exclusion is due to statements not party affiliation

BAGHDAD, Feb 13 (KUNA) -- The exclusion of some candidates from contesting the upcoming elections was made due to their press statements and not their past affiliation to the disbanded Baath party, speaker of the Iraqi parliament Iyad Al-Samarraei said here Saturday.
Samarraei expressed, during his attendance of a mass rally held by the Iraqi List party today, his wonder over including some incumbent members of parliament within the measures carried out by the Accountability and Justice committee, namely that, "they passed the committee's testing procedures before at a time when it fared better than now on making the right decisions." He added that these members were excluded not for being ex-members of the Baath party, but because they spoke in contrast to the article VII of the constitution that bans the extolement of the former Baath party.
Samarraei said that, "though I believe that they made the wrong statements, I also believe that the article 63 of the constitution ensures each member of the parliament his right to say or express what he wants under the immunity prescribed." Futher, Samarraei said that he tried from the beginning to take an array of measures that ensures that the decisions of this committee are within law and steers clear from politicizing, expressing his opposition to the politicization of such topic by some political blocs and their staging of some protests to influence the committee's decision.
He also noted that all these measures do not serve the political process and will work to stoke the anger of the Iraqi joe public, putting the committee under such pressures that hinder it from making right decisions.
The Iraqi Independent Higher Election Committee officially announced today the exclusion of the two MPs Saleh Al-Mutalk and Zafer Al-Ani from the Iraqi List party led by ex-Premier Iyad Allawi, a matter which prodded the latter to suspend its electoral publicity campaigns for three days. (end) aah.aff KUNA 132032 Feb 10NNNN