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UN reports 6250 candidates running in Iraqi election, but top Sunni party pulls out

[JURIST] Nearly 6250 candidates have registered for Iraq's national assembly election next month, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) has reported. Once in place, Iraq's 275-member assembly will draft a constitution and appoint a new government to oversee the county until a presidential ballot is held at the end of that year. In total, 223 political entities and 33 coalitions have presented 19,000 candidates for the January 30th national assembly, local governorates, and Kurdistan National Assembly elections. The UN News Centre has more. The statistics were released just as a new audio tape, apparently from Osama bin Laden, warned Iraqis to stay away from the January 30 poll. BBC has more on the tape.

3:57 PM ET - UNAMI also reported Monday per AFP that Iraq's largest Sunni political party has announced that is withdrawing from the general election due to what a spokeman described as a rapidly deteriorating security situation and a lack of public awareness about the vote. Reuters has more.

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