BAGHDAD: Iraqi Finance Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, a leading candidate on the front-running Shi'ite Muslim list for the January 30 elections, said yesterday he feared the milestone polls could be marred by fraud.
"We cannot go to all the regions in Iraq to monitor (the voting), and we are seriously afraid that fraud might take place," he said, with less than a week to go before what are being hailed as the first free elections in half a century.
He said the lack of monitors stemming from the security threat in restive Sunni provinces "could allow some people to rig the ballots and illegally sign the names of voters.
"We should not allow any room for such fraud and the electoral commission and other observers should adopt the principle of transparency," said Abdel Mahdi.
"Anyone who rigs these elections will destroy the whole experience."