Iraq election commission withdraws collective resignation

Main issue in upcoming election: Not sectarian divide, but Maliki’s future

BAGHDAD - The board of Iraq's election commission withdrew its collective resignation Sunday, partly after an appeal from the United Nations mission to Baghdad, state television and a diplomatic source said.
The nine-member board of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) had resigned en masse over alleged parliamentary and judicial interference on Tuesday, sparking concern a general election due to be held on April 30 could be delayed.
But Iraqiya state TV, quoting election commissioner Gaata al-Zobaie, said on Sunday that the board had withdrawn its collective resignation.
The commissioners rescinded their resignations "after talking with regional and international" organisations, including the United Nations, a diplomatic source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The IHEC's board has been frustrated with what they say is a vague provision in Iraq's electoral law that requires parliamentary hopefuls to be "of good reputation".
Based on that article, a judicial panel has barred several prospective lawmakers, including Maliki opponents such as former finance minister Rafa al-Essawi, with no obvious avenue of appeal.
Parliament has meanwhile reportedly ruled that the IHEC must not bar any candidates unless they have criminal convictions, a decision an electoral official said was at odds with that of the judicial panel.