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Nearly 6,250 candidates have registered for Iraq's national assembly poll - UN

23 December 2004 ? Nearly 6,250 candidates have so far registered for next month's elections to Iraq's 275-member national assembly, which will draft a constitution and appoint a new government to run the country until a presidential ballot is held at the end of the year, the United Nations mission reported today.

Overall, 223 political entities and 33 coalitions have presented 19,000 candidates for the 30 January elections for the national assembly, the local governorates and the Kurdistan National Assembly.

The final figures will be made public within the next few days, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said.

Meanwhile the top UN envoy in the country today continued his consultations with senior members of the Interim Government on preparations for the vote, which the world body is helping to organize.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative, Ashraf Qazi, discussed the issue with Interim Vice President Ibrahim Ja'fari. The two also discussed the security situation as well as the political environment and efforts to broaden participation in the political process.

The meeting followed many other similar contacts Mr. Qazi has had with officials and activists to discuss the situation in the country and the role the UN is playing in supporting the transitional process since the United States-led coalition ousted the Saddam Hussein regime last year.

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