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Iraqi Bloc Considers Call for International Intervention in Election Dispute

An Iraqi political bloc that won a narrow lead in last month's parliamentary elections says it may ask for international intervention to prevent election rivals from trying to reverse the results.

The Iraqiya bloc led by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said Wednesday it is considering asking international organizations to form a caretaker Iraqi government. The organizations include the U.N. Security Council, European Union, Organization of the Islamic Conference and Arab League.

Iraqiya says these agencies could help Iraq hold a new parliamentary election in an environment free of what it calls "political manipulation."

Unofficial election results gave Iraqiya 91 seats in Iraq's parliament, two more than its closest rival, the State of Law bloc of incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

But, Iraqiya's lead has been threatened by an Iraqi court, which has disqualified a winning Iraqiya candidate and is considering disqualifying more.

Both Iraqiya and State of Law are far short of the 163 seats needed to form a majority government.

Iraqiya says international intervention in Iraq's post-election stalemate could be authorized under Chapter Seven of the U.N. charter, which gives the United Nations a role in maintaining stability in Iraq.

An Iraqi commission has called for 52 parliamentary candidates to be disqualified for alleged ties to the former Sunni-led government of deposed and executed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Many of those candidates are members of Iraqiya, a cross-sectarian coalition that won strong support in the election from Iraqi's minority Sunnis.

Iraqiya leader Allawi said Wednesday his grouping cannot remain silent in response to what he called the attempted "theft" of the election. He was speaking to Iraqi television network al-Sharqiya.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.