Iraq's most powerful Shiite cleric calls Iraqis to vote
Iraq's most powerful Shiite cleric on Monday called on Iraqis to go to the polls in this month's elections but noted he was not supporting any particular candidates. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani enjoys massive support among Iraq's majority Shiite Muslims.
"The religious leadership stands an equal distance away from all candidates in these elections, but it stresses at the same time that voters must, after thorough checks and examination, choose those who are worthy of becoming members of provincial councils," he said, according to the AP. He said worthy candidates must be efficient, honest and sincere.
Voters are set to choose members of ruling councils in 14 of the 18 provinces on Jan. 31. More than 14,000 candidates are running for 444 council seats.
Meanwhile, a bomb attached to a car went off Monday in a mainly Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad, killing a police officer who was on his way to work at a passport office and wounding seven other people, police and hospital officials said.