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Sunday, 21 April 2013

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Iraq votes in test of stability as violence spikes

20 April AFP

Iraqis cast their votes yesterday in the country's first polls since US troops departed, a key test of its stability in the face of a spike in attacks that has claimed more than 100 lives.

But the credibility of the provincial elections has come into question, with attacks on candidates leaving 14 dead and a third of Iraq's provinces all of them mainly Sunni Arab or Kurdish not even voting.

The election is seen as a gauge of the popularity of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shiite-led government ahead of a general election next year, but major issues affecting voters such as poor public services and rampant corruption have largely been ignored during the campaign.

"I don't believe this election will provide a magic solution for the problems of Iraqis, and the problems in the country," said Ihsan al-Shammari, a politics professor at Baghdad University.

 

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