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Iraqis in UAE sign up for polls

An estimated 100,000 Iraqis living in the UAE may register next week to vote in this month's Iraqi election

An estimated 100,000 Iraqis living in the UAE may register next week to vote in this month's Iraqi election, the international agency in charge said.

"Our best estimate is that roughly 100,000 Iraqis are living in the UAE. We're not sure who is eligible of those to vote in the elections," said Michael Burke, head of the International Organisation for Migration in the UAE.

He said the agency had hired nearly 500 Iraqi staff to help with the January 17-23 registration in Dubai and the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, and the January 28-30 casting of ballots.

"In Iraq there is no clear law that defines citizenship so we use criteria that allow us to establish some sort of link ... to Iraq," Burke said.

For example, a person born in Canada to Iraqi parents, may be eligible to vote, he added.

Up to a million expatriate Iraqis, many of whom fled into exile during Saddam Hussein's rule, may be eligible to take part in the poll to elect a transitional national assembly.

The interim Iraqi government designated the Geneva-based agency to organise the voting in 14 countries which host the largest numbers of Iraqis.

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