US authorities turn down Iraqi census plan

04 December 2003
US officials have turned down a plan written by Iraqi government officials outlining the practicalities of carrying out a national census in preparation for future elections, reported the daily New York Times on 4 December. The plan, which was based on previous censuses, has since disappeared after being handed to the interim Governing Council (GC). GC members have criticised the US' rejection of the plan. 'It is not a weapon,' said GC member, Ghazi Al-Yawar. 'You can not have something like this as a secret.'

The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) said that the plan was rejected as it was not the right time for a census. 'Rushing into a census in this time frame with the security environment that we have would not give the result the people want, ' said a CPA spokesman. 'A lot of preparation work needs to be done for elections, and there is concern not to rush the process.'

Louay Hagi, who oversees the census bureau in Baghdad, said the plan was finished in October, after which it was given to the GC in early November. The GC said in early December that it had not seen the plan, which Iraqi officials now say has been lost in the bureaucracy (MEED 28:11:03).

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