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US expresses first concerns over Iraq election results

US Ambassador Christopher Hill today expressed concern that nearly two months after the Iraq election, a government has not been formed. Complicating the drawn-out process, Iraqi officials today disqualified two winning candidates.

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Iraqi election authorities on Monday announced the disqualification of two winning parliamentary candidates because of alleged Baathist ties while the US said publicly for the first time it was concerned about delays in forming a new Iraqi government.

“We have an election that took place on March 7. We are now approaching the two-month period [of waiting for final results] and we are concerned that the process is lagging,” Ambassador Chris Hill said Monday in the first public indication of concern by the US government over elections seen as crucial to stability.

“We have not gone on to government formation as of yet and we share the concern of those who believe that its time that the politicians got down to business and started forming a government,” he said at a briefing for Western journalists.

52 candidates declared ineligible

Iraq election officials on Monday said they had been instructed by a review panel that it was upholding a decision by the Justice and Accountability commission that 52 candidates in the parliamentary elections had been deemed ineligible to have run, including at least one Sunni candidate belonging to the Iraqiya coalition, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s major challenger.

“The decision is to disqualify 52 candidates, set aside all the votes they won in the elections and to rule out the winning candidates,” says Ali Faisal al-Lami, executive director of the controversial Justice and Accountability Commission.

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