Iraq's Election Snag

The U.S. has insisted it can't comply with demands from Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatullah Ali al-Sistani, that the first post-Saddam government be established via nationwide direct elections. U.S. officials say that would be too difficult to pull off before the June 30 deadline for the transfer of power. Instead, the U.S. wants the new government to be chosen by local caucuses. Ahead of meetings in New York City this week with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Paul Bremer, the U.S. civilian chief in Iraq, said, "We have doubts, as does the Secretary-General, that elections can in fact be called in...

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