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This article from NYTimes.com has been sent to you by firstname.lastname@example.org. /-------------------- advertisement -----------------------\ IN AMERICA - NOMINATED FOR 6 INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS IN AMERICA has audiences across the country moved by its emotional power. This Holiday season, share the experience of this extraordinary film with everyone you are thankful to have in your life. Ebert & Roeper give IN AMERICA "Two Thumbs Way Up!" Watch the trailer at: http://www.foxsearchlight.com/inamerica \----------------------------------------------------------/ U.S. Rejects Iraqi Plan to Hold Census by Summer December 4, 2003 By JOEL BRINKLEY BAGHDAD, Iraq, Dec. 3 - Iraqi census officials devised a detailed plan to count the country's entire population next summer and prepare a voter roll that would open the way to national elections in September. But American officials say they rejected the idea, and the Iraqi Governing Council members say they never saw the plan to consider it. The practicality of national elections is now the subject of intense debate among Iraqi and American officials, who are trying to move forward on a plan to give Iraqis sovereignty next summer. As the American occupation officials rejected the plan to compile a voter roll rapidly, they also argued to the Governing Council that the lack of a voter roll meant national elections were impractical. The American plan for Iraqi sovereignty proposes instead a series of caucus-style, indirect elections. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most influential Shiite cleric, is calling for national elections next June, not the indirect balloting specified in the American plan for turning over control of the country. But American officials, and some Iraqis say the nation is not ready for national elections, in part because the logistics are too daunting. In October, Nuha Yousef, the census director, finished the plan for a quick census, which lays out the timetable in tabular form over several pages. "After processing the data, the most important thing is the election roll, and that would be available Sept. 1," she said. Full results, she added, would come in December. One American official acknowledged in an interview that American authorities had been aware of the quick census plan but rejected it. Informed of the proposal this week, several members of the Governing Council who advocated a direct national ballot next June 30 said they were upset that they had not seen it. The Census Bureau said it had delivered the plan to the Governing Council on Nov. 1, but apparently it was lost in the bureaucracy. "This could have changed things," said Dr. T. Hamid al-Bayati, a senior aide to Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the Governing Council member who announced last week that Shiite religious leaders opposed the indirect elections. Perhaps, he and others suggested, some council members would have argued last month that the vote on self-government should be delayed until September when the voter roll became available. Another council member who favors national elections said: "I am irate. There is no doubt the situation would be different now, if we had known about this." Charles Healtly, a spokesman for the occupation authorities, said the Americans knew about the census proposal but decided against pursuing it. "Rushing into a census in this time frame with the security environment that we have would not give the result that people want," he said. "A lot of preparation work needs to be done for elections, and there is concern not to rush the process." Some Governing Council members say the Americans never told them about the census plan. Some Iraqis have said they wonder why American officials called for caucus elections in June, in part because a census could not be completed in less than a year, while at the same time rejecting a plan to produce a census more quickly. Louay Hagi, who oversees the Census Bureau in the Planning Ministry, said the proposal was not rushed. In an interview, he said his staff prepared a detailed timetable for a census that was stripped down from the 73 questions asked in the last census six years ago, to 12 basic demographic queries, enabling the work to be done much faster than the normal two-year time frame. As it had in the past, the bureau would use 400,000 school teachers to visit every household in Iraq on one day, June 30, said Ms. Yousef, the census director. The plan would cost $75 million, Mr. Hagi said, in part to buy 2,500 computers. "We sent the plan to the Governing Council on Nov. 1 and asked for an answer by Nov. 15," Mr. Hagi said. "We are still waiting for a response." He would not say to whom at the council the proposal was sent. Adel Abdel Mahdi, who attends every Governing Council meeting on behalf of Mr. Hakim, the council member, said he had never heard about the census proposal and "was surprised" to learn of it. A council member who does not favor elections, Ghazi Ajil al-Yawar, said, "This is bad," and continued: "You can't have something like this as a secret. It is not a weapon." But he said he did not think knowledge of the plan would have changed the debate last month. As it turned out, on Nov. 15 the Governing Council announced it had agreed to the American plan for indirect elections to choose a "transitional assembly" in June, the first step in a progression to a new constitution and the election of a new Iraqi government by Dec. 31, 2005. The debate now is over whether the selection of a transitional assembly next summer should be by caucus-style balloting or a direct national election. Although last week, Ayatollah Sistani declared that he would insist on a direct vote, his aides have since softened that view. In an interview, Mr. Bayati said Mr. Hakim, who is serving as president of the Governing Council this month, was "ready to compromise." "We want a plan that will reflect the will of the Iraqi people," Mr. Bayati said, "and we could do that by using civic societies in every governorate - union leaders, judges, chiefs of tribes, religious figures and other well-known parties." An American official said "that sounds essentially like what we have been proposing, but as always the devil is in the details," such as who would choose those people. Last week the council established a nine-member committee to study the issue of how to choose the transitional assembly. Mr. Hagi said the quick census was still possible, but that now the results might not be ready until the middle of September. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/04/international/middleeast/04CENS.html?ex=1071573353&ei=1&en=072810f410c8bb94 --------------------------------- Get Home Delivery of The New York Times Newspaper. Imagine reading The New York Times any time & anywhere you like! Leisurely catch up on events & expand your horizons. Enjoy now for 50% off Home Delivery! Click here: http://www.nytimes.com/ads/nytcirc/index.html HOW TO ADVERTISE --------------------------------- For information on advertising in e-mail newsletters or other creative advertising opportunities with The New York Times on the Web, please contact email@example.com or visit our online media kit at http://www.nytimes.com/adinfo For general information about NYTimes.com, write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company _______________________________________________ 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 email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk