Former Iraqi PM urges interim government

Ayad Allawi says move would counter efforts to change vote results and prevent country from sliding into violence.

Ayad Allawi poster 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Ayad Allawi poster 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
The front-runner in Iraq's recent parliamentary elections on Wednesday called for the formation of an impartial caretaker government to counter what he says are efforts to change the vote results and prevent the country from sliding into violence.
Former prime minister Ayad Allawi, a secular Shi'ite whose cross-sectarian coalition narrowly won most votes in the March 7 polling, said that disqualifying candidates and holding recounts is a violation of the people's vote and an attempt to "steal the will of the Iraqi people."
The call comes after an Iraqi court charged with investigating election-related complaints disqualified one of his candidates, over alleged ties to the former regime.
The court's ruling came at the urging of a commission charged with investigating politicians' connections with Saddam Hussein's regime. The commission is also asking that several other candidates lose their seats. The court is expected to rule on those in the coming days.
Disqualifying Allawi's candidates would favor incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's bloc, which came in second-placed in the elections.
"Certainly what is going on is a theft of the Iraqi will and democracy, jeopardizing the safety of the country," Allawi said in an interview Wednesday morning on the Iraqi al-Sharqiya satellite channel. "We will call for the forming of a new interim government."
"Regretfully, the issue has reached a level where we can't keep silent," he said, citing efforts to disqualify his candidates and recount ballots. He also expressed concern over who was guarding the ballot boxes.
The narrow victory of Allawi's Iraqiya coalition, which was heavily backed by Iraq's Sunni minority, in the elections was immediately assailed by al-Maliki, whose coalition garnered just two seats less.
Al-Maliki has won a recount in Baghdad, which has yet to take place, and has also been aided by a commission established by parliament that probes candidates for ties to Saddam's former ruling Baath Party.
Hundreds of candidates were barred from running prior to the election by the Accountability and Justice Commission, and now dozens of those who actually ran are being investigated.
"The Accountability commission is illegal and illegitimate and works randomly without any cause or accusation," Allawi said in the interview. "It works with no constitutional cover."
Allawi warned that further delays in forming a new government only give "terrorists" the opportunity to kill more people in the country.