WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday she is "heartened" by an Iraqi decision to reinstate Sunni candidates and urged all parties to do nothing to undermine the legitimacy of elections.
"We were heartened by the decision earlier this week to reverse the deletion of the 500 names from the list for the upcoming election," Clinton told reporters.
An appeals panel ruled Wednesday in Baghdad that more than 500 candidates barred from Iraq's March 7 general election could stand after all. They were allegedly linked to former dictator Saddam Hussein.
But Iraq's premier Nuri al-Maliki convened parliament for Sunday to debate what his government branded an "illegal" decision to reinstate candidates with alleged links to ousted dictator Saddam Hussein.
The chief US diplomat said she wanted to make sure the election is free and fair.
"We do very much encourage all the parties ...in Iraq to ensure that nothing is done that undermines the legitimacy of this election," Clinton said.
Clinton's spokesman Philip Crowley on Thursday gave a similar reaction to the latest developments in Baghdad.
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