Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that the Sadr Movement is complaining bitterly about a rash of arrests by the government of Sadrist activists. The hard line Shiite movement asserted that these arrests were aimed at influencing the course of the election.
Al-Hayat writes in Arabic that the National Iraqi Alliance, a coalition of Shiite religious parties, has alleged that there are 800,000 imaginary voters' names on the election rolls. Member of parliament for the National Iraqi Alliance, Qasim Da'ud, told al-Hayat that his coalition has already detected numerous instances of attempted fraud in the upcoming election."
The Observer reports of boycotts
The Observer reports (February 21st): One of Iraq's two most prominent Sunni politicians has withdrawn his party from next month's general election and called on Sunni voters to boycott the polls – a move that has raised fears of a repeat of the country's disastrous 2005 ballot.
The call for a boycott was made by Saleh al-Mutlaq, an MP who leads the National Dialogue Front, a leading Sunni party. It is part of a cross-sectarian Iraqiya electoral alliance, formed to contest the 7 March ballot.http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/feb/21/fears-iraq-poll-boycott-sunni
and The National tells us of votes for sale:
Poor selling their votes for cash
The National reports (February 21st): he March 7 election may be a critical event in the contest to decide Iraq’s future, but for some of the nation’s poor, the right to vote does not mean having a say in who leads the country; it means having something to sell to make desperately needed cash.
“Elections are a beautiful opportunity to get some money,” Ahmad Salam said. “There are lots of people willing to sell their votes, and lots of people who want to buy them.”
A mechanic by trade working in the impoverished
“I have 100 people who have given me their vote to sell,” he said outside the small garage where he is employed as a casual worker, earning a few dollars a day. “None of them cares who wins, none of them thinks it makes any difference, so they give me their vote, and I sell it.”