Leading Iraqi politicians called Friday for a six-month delay in the Jan. 30 election because of the spiraling violence as U.S. forces uncovered more bodies in the northern city of Mosul, apparent victims of an intimidation campaign by insurgents against Iraq’s fledgling security forces.
Asked about the demand for the election to be postponed, President Bush, at his vacation home in Texas, said, “The Iraqi Election Commission has scheduled elections in January, and I would hope they’d go forward in January.”
But the country’s deputy prime minister told an audience Friday in Wales that sticking to the timetable would be difficult because of the security crisis.
In Mosul, Iraq’s third-largest city, U.S. officials said six bodies were found Friday, bringing the number discovered there over the last two days to 21. In all, 41 bodies have been discovered in the last week.
On Friday, 17 political parties representing Sunni Arabs, Kurds, Christians and secular groups demanded postponing the vote for at least six months until the government is capable of securing polling places.
However, the clerical leadership of the majority Shiite community has insisted that the government stick to the Jan. 30 date.