Heavy turnover expected in Iraqi elections

Jan. 6, 2010 at 1:00 PM

BAGHDAD, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Heavy turnover is expected as several Iraqi lawmakers said they have no plans to run for re-election in the March parliamentary elections.

Iraq in late 2009 passed amendments to a national election law, paving the way to a March 7 vote where Iraqis pick their next government.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is expected to face several influential challengers in his bid for a second term.

Several lawmakers in the current Parliament, however, said they would not seek another term in office. Iraq's satellite news station al-Sumaria reports as much as 60 percent of the Parliament will be different in the next government.

Meanwhile, a row over the Iranian seizure of an oil well on the Iraqi border continues to anger key lawmakers. Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi said border issues with Iran are problematic, urging lawmakers to find a political solution to the matter.

Jane Arraf, a veteran correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, told the Council on Foreign Relations that observers believe Iran is spending a considerable amount of money to influence the political climate in Iraq ahead of March elections.

"Iran doesn't orchestrate Iraqi policy as far as we can see, but it does have certainly a substantial influence because of those longstanding ties and because of the money it throws at it," she said.

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