Iraq takes steps toward April vote

Nov. 30, 2012 at 11:28 AM
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BAGHDAD, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- An Iraq analyst said Iraqi elections officials have published what appears to be a list of parties slated to take part in provincial council elections in April.

In early November, the U.N. Assistance Mission in Iraq welcomed the decision by Baghdad to have provincial council elections next April.

Reidar Visser, a noted Iraq expert, writes on his supplement to the site that Iraqi authorities have registered what appears to be a final list of political entities cleared to take part in the April contest.

Included in the list are various "sub-entities" of the Sunni-backed Iraqiya slate, which challenged Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his State of Law party during the last election cycle in 2009.

State of Law may seek to shore up more Shiite support while a movement loyal to influential cleric Moqtada Sadr remains a dominate force in the Iraqi political landscape.

Various vetting and administrative issues, however, suggests the list "is not a definitive indication of how the political landscape for the next local elections in Iraq is shaping up," writes Visser.

A series of skirmishes between Iraqi and Kurdish forces recently have raised concerns about the stability in post-war Iraq. On Wednesday, U.N. special envoy for Iraq Martin Kobler expressed his dismay over a series of attacks that left 19 dead in mostly Shiite areas of Baghdad.

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