Wed, Jan 26, 2005 - Page 7 News List

Iraqi elections will include diversity of aspiring politicians


In total 111 parties, independent candidates and political alliances are set to campaign in the Iraq's Jan. 30 parliamentary elections. Best-known and most likely to succeed are:

United Iraqi Alliance (UIA): The bloc of the most influential Shiite parties comprises the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and Daawa, the oldest Shiite political group.

One of the most promising candidates is said to be the former Pentagon favorite Ahmed Chalabi. The UIA has the indirect support of Iraqi senior Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

Kurdish Coalition: The Kurdish bloc in the election includes the two leading Kurdish parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) led by Massoud Barzani and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) under Jalal Talabani.

Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP): The IIP represents the most influential legal Sunni party. Stressing its Sunni identity, it has taken a critical stance toward cooperation with the occupation powers.

Iraqi List: Alliance mainly comprising the Iraqi National Accord led by interim prime minister Iyad Allawi, a long-time confidant of the CIA and Washington's secret favorite.

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