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Confusion over Baghdad 'vote' BBC Online, 18th April 2003 A US marine spokesman in Baghdad has downplayed reports that an Iraqi has been elected to govern the city. The officer was responding to news that Mohammed Mohsen Zubaidi had announced his "election" by local people and was liaising with the US military. "Anyone can call themselves anything they want to, but future appointments like this will be handled through USAid," Captain Joe Plenzler told AFP news agency. Political manoeuvring is intensifying across Iraq as exiled opposition leaders return to the country and try to stake their claims for roles in the future government. Mr Zubaidi, who says he is a member of the US-backed Iraqi National Congress (INC), told reporters he had been elected by religious and community leaders as "president of Baghdad's executive committee" but he gave few details. Reuters news agency reports that most Iraqis it interviewed after Mr Zubaidi's "election" said they knew nothing about polling. Mr Zubaidi said executive committees were being set up to restore health care and other essential services to the capital which has been without electricity for about two weeks. Looting continues in the capital, but US forces say that with 300 volunteer police on the streets, lawlessness is less widespread than before. BBC regional analyst Pam O'Toole says that installing people as governors or leaders at this stage would go against everything Washington has been saying about a democratic political process. At the same time, our correspondent notes, the Americans clearly need help restoring order and public services. Candidates for power At US Central Command in Qatar, the main US military spokesman did not comment directly on reports of Mr Zubaidi's appointment along with that of an interim mayor, Jaudat Obeidi. "There are a number of emerging leaders throughout Iraq and the coalition works with a number of them on a variety of levels," Brigadier General Vincent Brooks told reporters on Thursday. The men jockeying for position in Iraq now range from members of the Shia Muslim community to people who left Iraq more than a decade ago, to former members of Saddam Hussein's regime. Some have joined a process started by the United States to identify an interim administration for post-war Iraq while others are boycotting. Others have declared themselves leaders of cities but analysts say such claims are near-worthless without the approval or backing of the coalition forces controlling Iraq. Those competing for leading post-war roles include: Ahmed Chalabi of the London-based INC who appears to be trying to force the pace by moving from his initial base in southern Iraq to the capital, Baghdad Ayad Alawi, who leads a party which includes many military defectors from the old regime, is said to be in Baghdad seeking to garner support from so-called "clean" Baath party members Mashaan al-Juburi who defected from the regime in the 1990s and is now working with the Kurds and Americans in northern Iraq; he describes himself as acting governor of Mosul Story from BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/middle_east/2956551.stm Published: 2003/04/17 16:50:06 © BBC MMIII _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk