Thu, 25 Feb 2010 23:52:52 GMT
Iraq's leading Sunni lawmaker says his party will take part in the upcoming general elections lifting the lingering threat of the boycott of vote.
Lawmaker Saleh al-Mutlaq of the National Dialogue Front (NDF) is among the 456 candidates banned from taking part in the March 7 elections by a committee tasked with vetting candidates over ties to former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's Baath Party.
Talking to reporters in Baghdad on Thursday, al-Mutlaq said that he quit the party in the 1970s and pulled his party from the race last Saturday in protest at being blacklisted.
However, contrary to his announcement five days ago, when he said his party was withdrawing from the elections, he urged his followers to turn out en masse "to avoid fraud."
However, electoral authorities were quoted by AFP as saying that the boycott was largely symbolic and had no official status because the deadline for parties to withdraw had passed and ballot papers had already been printed.