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
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.