Iraq gears up for bitter, bloody election battle

This is to help our Dinarian readers and holders understand some of the core issue here.



The Washington Post
By Loveday Morris
27 April 2014

BAGHDAD — His campaign poster, jostling among the thousands that line the streets of the capital, has a message of unity: “Together we build Iraq.”

But as the country prepares for its first elections since the withdrawal of U.S. troops, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s political rivals accuse him of the opposite: stoking sectarian divisions and dismantling its hard-won democracy.

No party is expected to win a majority in Iraq’s parliamentary elections Wednesday, the first since the last U.S. troops pulled out of the country nearly 21 / 2 years ago, which makes the results difficult to forecast. The unpredictability of Iraqi politics was underlined in the last elections four years ago, when the bloc that won the greatest share of the vote lost the premiership to Maliki in the political horse-trading that followed.

Most observers agree on two things, however: Maliki is unlikely to give up without a bitter fight, and he has unrivaled power and resources to help him hold on.

Since he took office eight years ago, in the country’s first elections after the U.S.-led invasion, his critics have accused him of centralizing power.

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