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Two Iraq electoral commission officials arrested

The head of Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) and one of its members were arrested on Thursday, Judge Qassem al-Abboudi, who is also a member of the panel, said.

IHEC chief Faraj al-Haidari was arrested along with Karim al-Tamimi for paying a bonus of 150,000 dinars ($130) to an employee of the commission, Abboudi told AFP.

Karima al-Assadi, a spokesperson for IHEC, said only that "an investigation of the integrity committee (Iraq's anti-corruption watchdog) was underway within the electoral commission."

There is bad blood between Haidari, a 64-year-old Shia Kurd, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri a-Maliki's State of Law list over his refusal to carry out a national recount after 2010 parliamentary polls, in which the premier's list came in second to rival Iyad Allawi's Iraqiya list.

Haidari only recounted the votes in Baghdad province.

The State of Law list sought a no-confidence vote on Haidari on July 30, 2011, for alleged corruption, but failed because other parties opposed the move.

-AFP/NOW Lebanon